Sydney: The fourth One-day International between Australia and Sri Lanka was abandoned after rain halted play yesterday with the tourists chasing 223 runs to take the series. Sri Lanka needed 209 more runs off 46.4 overs with all their wickets in tact when the umpires took the players off the Sydney Cricket Ground. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene was on four and Tillakaratne Dilshan nine.
Australia scored 222 for nine off their 50 overs after winning the toss. "The outfield is still quite wet so unfortunately..." said a disappointed Australian skipper Michael Clarke.
Opener David Warner top scored with 60 off 73 balls but ninth man Mitchell Starc starred for the hosts knocking 52 off 37 to help Australia post a decent total.
Sri Lanka have routed Australia in the last two games to seize a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. The final leg will be played in Hobart on Wednesday. "We've got a chance to level the series," Clarke said. Earlier, Mitchell Starc rattled 52 runs off 37 balls as Australia's tail wagged furiously to set Sri Lanka a challenging target of 223 to win.
Sri Lanka has bowled out Australia for low scores in the last two games to seize a 2-1 lead in the five-match series, and another rout looked possible when Phillip Hughes fell in the second over for just one run.
Nuwan Kulasekara had him caught behind the wicket in a maiden over of supreme seam bowling. But skipper Michael Clarke, who had won the toss and decided to bat, quickly found the day's first boundary off the middle of the bat. Opener David Warner was also smashing out to further ease the pressure, with 12 coming off the fifth over and Australia moving on to 1-29.
However, when Lasith Malinga came on in the sixth over Australia were soon in trouble at both ends, with the seamer trapping Clarke lbw for 20. David Hussey was worked over by some hostile bowling while Warner took one from Kulasekara on the box and fell to his knees, head down in agony.
Next ball Malinga had Hussey caught in the slips with a fine outswinger. Lahiru Thirimanne held it with a juggle, to put Australia at three for 53 in the 13th over. George Bailey, out for a first ball duck in Brisbane, played and missed the first four fiery balls of another Malinga maiden over.
But he dug in and made 22, only to lob spinner Rangana Herath straight to Thisara Perera at mid-on. Warner fell to a bad decision from umpire Marais Erasmus. Television replays showed a thick inside edge on to his pad off Herath.
Henriques had only three on the board when Herath hit his pads and Paul Reiffel missed another inside edge when declaring him out. Malinga did not need any help with another lbw though as he trapped Mitchell Johnson with one more scorcher. Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade tried to push up the rate but skied an Angelo Mathews delivery straight to Kulasekara at third man.
He scored 31 but it took 53 balls and Australia were 8-166 with nearly eight overs remaining.
Clint McKay went to a slower Kulasekara delivery for two and Australia were in danger of failing to last the 50 overs again.
But paceman Starc showed his 22 not out from a total of just 74 in Brisbane on Friday was no fluke. Batting at nine, he rattled up 52 not out off 37 balls. Xavier Doherty kept him company and ended 10 not out as the last wicket cameo piled on the runs to reach 222 and set the tourists a required rate of 4.44 under lights.