David Warner smacks Sri Lanka around as Australia cap 4-1 ODI series victory

Australia sealed a 4-1 series victory on Sunday, easily surpassing Sri Lanka's modest 195 in 40.2 overs on the strength of David Warner's 106 and a 132-run partnership with George Bailey.

Australia's David Warner raises his bat and helmet in celebration after scoring a century against Sri Lanka on Sunday. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi / AFP / September 4, 2016
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Skipper David Warner's fluent century and a disciplined bowling effort powered Australia to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth one-day international in Pallekele as the visitors took the series 4-1 on Sunday.

Australia, who took an unassailable 3-1 lead in Dambulla on Wednesday, rode on a record 132-run partnership between Warner and George Bailey (44) to chase down their 196-run target in 43 overs on a sluggish pitch.

Earlier pace spearhead Mitchell Starc led the visiting attack with three wickets to bowl out Sri Lanka, who elected to bat first, for a modest 195 in 40.2 overs.

But it was Warner’s 106, which came off 126 balls with the help of nine boundaries, that thwarted the Sri Lankan attack from posing any threats to the visiting batting.

Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, who shared the new ball with pacer Suranga Lakmal, struck twice in his first spell to get the wickets of opener Matthew Wade and Usman Khawaja.

Wade was caught behind for three while Khawaja was out for six as Australia were in early trouble at 25 for two in 5.5 overs.

Man of the match Warner then got down to the grind alongside Bailey as Sri Lanka unleashed their spin force on a slow pitch.

The left-handed Warner, who completed his seventh ODI ton in his 79th match, became the first Australian batsman to record a century in Sri Lanka.

“Always good to get a milestone, but credit to our bowlers for setting the tone,” said Warner who was appointed captain after the second ODI to give regular skipper Steve Smith some rest.

Bailey, who remained the highest run-getter with 270 in five games to get the man of the series award, played the sheet-anchor’s role to perfection.

But he was denied his third half-century of the series after Dilruwan Perera, who returned with figures of 3-51, trapped the batsman lbw.

“Partnership is key, we’ve done that well in this series. Well done to George Bailey, he’s been our rock, and allowed our batters to bat around him,” said Warner.

Off-spinner Dhananjaya de Silva claimed two wickets including that of Warner to delay Australia’s win as James Faulkner and John Hastings saw the team through.

The ODI win comes as a welcome relief for the visitors who suffered their first series whitewash against Sri Lanka in the three Tests last month.

The hosts, who were led by Dinesh Chandimal after regular skipper Angelo Mathews injured his calf in the fourth ODI, got off to a solid start but lost wickets regularly.

Openers De Silva and Danushka Gunathilaka put together a 73-run partnership, Sri Lanka’s best first-wicket stand of the ODI series.

But Australia’s persistent attack took three wickets in nine deliveries to rattle the Sri Lankan top order with a mini-collapse.

Left-arm pacer Faulkner had De Silva trudging back to the pavilion for 34. The batsman was beaten by the angle of the ball, giving a catch to mid-on in the 14th over.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa struck in the very next over to have Gunathilaka bowled round his legs for 39, after the batsman attempted a sweep while exposing his leg stump.

Starc, who was brought back for his second spell in the 16th over, then had Chandimal caught behind for one.

Kusal Mendis (33) and Upul Tharanga put on 43 for the fourth wicket to try and rebuild the innings, but the wickets kept tumbling.

Kusal Perera, who scored 14, may have suffered an umpiring error after reviewing his lbw dismissal off Head.

TV replays suggested he had got an inside edge on to his pad but third umpire Michael Gough thought otherwise.

The rest of the batting failed to put up any resistance as Starc, who topped the bowling chart with 12 wickets in five games, returned to help remove the tail.

Left-armer Starc bowled Dilruwan Perera for five and Lakmal for nought. But Amila Aponso survived the hat trick ball in the 37th over.

Number eight Sachith Pathirana came up with a 32-run cameo to add some runs to the Sri Lankan scorecard but got no support from the other end.

“We’re disappointed with the way we have batted through the series. We got a good start today but couldn’t get to the 260, 270 mark,” said Chandimal.

“They have to learn, if you get a good start you have to bat longer and make it easier for the others.”

The teams now head into the two-match Twenty20 series starting September 6 at the same venue.

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