Sri Lanka rout Australia for just 74

Michael Clarke. Picture: REUTERS
Michael Clarke. Picture: REUTERS
Mitchell Johnson. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Mitchell Johnson. Picture: GETTY IMAGES


Australia's frailty against swing bowling and their selection inconsistencies combined for a humiliating Gabba defeat yesterday.

Sri Lanka's pace attack completely embarrassed the hosts by routing Michael Clarke's full-strength team for a paltry 74 before chasing down the meagre target inside 20 overs with four wickets left.

The day-night match was finished at 6pm local time as a crowd of 20,271 traipsed home in broad daylight.

It would have been over much earlier, well before the scheduled tea break, if not for a rearguard last-wicket stand of 34 by tailenders Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty.

They were the only Australians to make double figures as the hosts were dismissed for their third worst total in 42 years of one-day cricket.

Australia's inability to cope with quality swing and seam bowling was sadly exposed by Nuwan Kulasekara (5-22) and Lasith Malinga (3-14) who reduced them to 9-40 in the 19th over.

In scenes reminiscent of the carnage in Cape Town 15 months ago when Australia's Test team were bowled out for 47 by South Africa, the batsmen seemed incapable of countering swing.

Sri Lanka (6-75) also had their problems, crashing to 4-37 as Mitchell Johnson dismantled their top order with 3-4 from his first eight deliveries. But Johnson was inexplicably taken off after the tea break.

The Australians were also left to rue three missed catches, as well as a run out which went begging, to top off a forgettable display.

Clarke described it as a "horrible day" but would not blame the Gabba wicket or the team's controversial resting/rotation policy.

"Our batting performance was very poor," he said. "If we bat like that in any conditions we're not going to make any runs.

"I think our defence more than anything else was poor today."

It was only the determined efforts of Starc (22 not out) and Doherty (15), putting on 34 for the last wicket, that saved Australia from more embarrassment.

When Doherty leg-glanced his first ball to the boundary, Australia passed the lowest total by a recognised Test nation - 43 endured in South Africa by both Pakistan (1993) and Sri Lanka (2012).

The spinner's last boundary ensured they crept beyond 70 - which Australia made in 1977 in England and also in 1986 against New Zealand in Adelaide.

It had looked to be a superb Brisbane pitch and Clarke, in his first game back after a two-match rest, had no hesitation in batting first on winning the toss.

While Angelo Mathews struck first by having David Warner caught at mid-off, man-of-the-match Kulasekara did the real damage, ripping through the bamboozled top order. AAP


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