Colombo, June 24: Alex Carey delivered an important unbeaten 45 as Australia defeated Sri Lanka by four wickets on a difficult pitch in Colombo.
Sri Lanka had sealed their first home multi-game bilateral ODI series victory over Australia in three decades with a game to spare, but made a poor start in the final match on Friday (June 24).
Chamika Karunaratne, who came in at number eight, top-scored with a run-a-ball 75 but Kusal Mendis (26), Charith Asalanka (14) and Pramod Madushan (15) were the only other batters to register double figures.
That saw Sri Lanka bowled all for just 160, with Josh Hazlewood (2-22), Matthew Kuhnemann (2-26) and Pat Cummins (2-22) the pick of the bowlers.
Having seen Sri Lanka struggle in bowler-friendly conditions, Australia began their chase in similarly slow fashion, falling to 19-3 after losing David Warner (10), Aaron Finch (0) and debutant Josh Inglis (5).
Mitchell Marsh (24) and Marnus Labuschagne (31) steadied the ship, though, before Carey produced his patient.
Carey was ably supported by Glenn Maxwell's flurry of 16 from 17 deliveries, while Cameron Green stepped up with an impressive, unbeaten 25 that included one six and two fours as Australia avoided a series whitewash.
Hazlewood has struggled when facing Sri Lanka in ODIs, registering a bowling average of 96 – his poorest in the format against any side – before this game.
However, the paceman found his form, and is now just three wickets away from picking up 100 dismissals in 50-over international cricket.
Sri Lanka come unstuck
Sri Lanka have thrived against Australia by producing pitches to favour their spinners, though that plan was the reason they came unstuck this time out.
Having faltered here, Sri Lanka missed the chance to record four consecutive ODI wins over Australia at home for the first time since a run of four between September 1994 and September 1996.