Australia went past Belinda Clark’s team’s record of 17 wins and registered their 18th consecutive ODI win to clinch the third and final match of the series against Sri Lanka by nine wickets at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Wednesday (October 9). Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy, Australia’s openers, set up the victory for the hosts with a belligerent 159-run opening stand, after the bowlers managed to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest total of 195 for 8. For the visitors, yet again it was Chamari Atapattu who scored a masterful 103, but it was an effort that went in vain with Healy powering to her third ODI century off just 71 deliveries.
To begin the day, Sri Lanka finally got the coin toss right and made the first use of batting conditions. Their start though was another disappointment as Ellyse Perry produced an unplayable outswinger that hit the top of Yasoda Mendis’ off stump to send the opener back in the third over of the day.
At the other end, Atapattu continued to attack after the early loss of wicket as she spanked one to fine leg for four off Megan Schutt’s bowling. In the company of Harshita Madavi, the senior batter mixed caution with aggression as the visitors finished the 10 over the mark on 36 for 1.
The introduction of spinners Asheliegh Gardner and Jess Jonassen didn’t bother Atapattu as she swept and cut with absolute ease. Madavi, on the other hand, struggled for timing at the other end. However, the left-hander finally broke the shackles with two boundaries of Gardner as the partnership reached 50. It took a moment of brilliance from Alyssa Healy to send Madavi back for 24 – Atapattu dropped the ball at her feet and called for a tight single before Healy charged forward, picked up the ball, swivelled around and hit the stumps at the striker’s end.
Wickets continued to tumble as Georgia Wareham removed Anushka Sanjeewani, and then Shashikala Siriwardene was unlucky to be adjudged lbw to Nicola Carey. Wareham continued to flight the ball and bagged her second wicket as Nilishka de Silva mistimed a sweep and departed for one. From a position of strength – 68 for 2 – the visitors slipped to 87 for 5 in 24 overs.
Meanwhile, Atapattu waged a lone battle from the other end and brought her 15th fifty up with a delightful cover drive. Immediately after, the left-hander mistimed a slog of Jonassen’s bowling and Haynes put down an absolute sitter at long on.
Schutt came into the attack and clattered Ama Kanchana’s stumps for 17 – a wicket which saw her overtake Karen Rolton to become Australia’s sixth highest-wicket taker in ODIs.
While her team crumbled around her, Atapattu brought up her fifth hundred – her second against Australia – with a single and soaked in the applause from the crowd and Sri Lankan dugout. As has been the case through much of her career, the left-hander was the lone warrior in Sri Lanka’s line-up, carrying the weight of the batting on her broad shoulders.
Soon enough, Oshadi Ranasighe’s resistance ended on 17 as Schutt again rattled the sumps to bag her second wicket. After the century Atapattu departed for 103 as she mistimed the shot and failed to clear mid-on, giving Delissa Kimmince her first wicket. The visitors stuttered to 195 for 8.
Chasing a modest target and a world record of 18 wins, Australia got off to a good start courtesy openers-Healy and Haynes. The former crunched one straight down the ground for a boundary to get things going. Healy was harsh on Sugandika Kumari the left-armspinner as she spanked her for consecutive three boundaries on the leg side as the hosts reached 50 in just six overs.
Healy’s half-century came off just 31 balls as the hosts motored along towards the target. The boundaries came thick and fast and soon enough Australia had raced to 100 in only 13 overs. Healy offered a chance on 69 when she mistimed a flick but Kanchana failed to latch on to the catch. The very next delivery Haynes mistimed a pull and Kulasooriya the bowler failed to grab it.
Meanwhile, Haynes backed up her maiden hundred with her 12th ODI half-century, while Healy continued to showcase her wide range of shots. The Australian vice-captain’s dismissal for 63 in the 23rd over gave Sri Lanka something to cheer about, but it was too little too late. Australia had by then raced to 159, needing only a further 37 runs for victory.
Meg Lanning came to the middle and crunched three boundaries off the bowling of Atapattu to further reduce that margin. At the other end, Healy struck her third ODI century and finished unbeaten on 112 off just 76 deliveries – fittingly finishing the chase with a massive six.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 195/8 in 50 overs (Chamari Atapattu 103, Harshita Madhavi 24; Georgia Wareham 2-18, Megan Schutt 2-44) lost to Australia 196/1 in 26.5 overs (Alyssa Healy 112*, Rachael Haynes 63) by nine wickets. PoM: Alyssa Healy.