ADELAIDE  - Paceman Clint McKay bowled Australia to a 16-run victory over Sri Lanka to capture the one-day international tri-series in the third final at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
Man of the match McKay claimed five wickets for 28 off 9.5 overs to go with his 28 off 32 balls in Australia's innings as he proved the winning difference over the World Cup finalists. Australia looked as though their total would not be enough when they were dismissed for 231 with three balls left of the 50 overs.
But inspired bowling by McKay, backed up by veteran paceman Brett Lee's three wickets, squeezed the home side across the line. The Australians head to the West Indies on Friday buoyed by their victory which came on top of their 4-0 thumping of India in the Test series to complete an arduous international season at home.
McKay helped rescue Australia after a middle-batting collapse ruined hopes of a big total. Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene had won the toss and sent the home side into bat. The Victorian paceman, mixing it up with deceptive slower deliveries out of the back of his hand, snared his best one-day figures in a match-winning performance.
McKay bowled Jayawardene for 15 and trapped the dangerous Dinesh Chandimal leg before wicket for five, before claiming the wickets of Chamara Kapugedera, Rangana Herath and last man Lasith Malinga. A fired-up Lee snared the initial two victims -- dangermen Tillakaratne Dilshan (eight) and Kumar Sangakkara (19 off nine balls) before later taking the key wicket of big-hitting Nuwan Kulasekara for 15.
Upul Tharanga, batting at number six, hit a resilient 71 off 122 balls before he was caught behind off stand-in Australian captain Shane Watson in the 46th over. Watson took over the captaincy after Michael Clarke was ruled out with an injured left hamstring, which will also force him to miss Australia's ODI series against the West Indies next week.
Earlier, opening batsman Matthew Wade topscored for Australia with 49 off 74 deliveries and batting partner David Warner hit 48 off 45. Farveez Maharoof claimed three for 40 off 10 overs, while left-arm spinner Herath picked up three for 36 from his 10 overs as well as taking a brilliant tumbling catch to dismiss Watson for 19.
The Australians got away to a breezy start with Wade and Warner scoring 75 off the opening 14 overs, but their progress stalled as Sri Lanka's bowlers and fielders, coupled with Jayawardene's imaginative captaincy, reeled in the Australia's run-rate. The home side were 115 for one in the 21st over but fell away losing five wickets in the next 12 overs. Australia won the opening final in Brisbane by 15 runs with Sri Lanka taking the series into a decider after an eight-wicket win in Adelaide last Tuesday.
Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene rued the lack of partnerships upfront after the loss. "Initially if we were given 231 we would have taken it. They put a lot of pressure on us, we fought well but the lack of partnerships upfront did us. We could not execute a good game plan," Jayawardene said after the match.
He, though, hailed his unit for putting up a great show Down Under and said it was a learning experience for some of the younger boys in the squad, as the team looked to rebuild for the next World Cup. "Very proud of the boys against two quality teams (Australia and India). The objective is to rebuild for the next four years and we've learnt a lot and I'm proud of the youngsters," he said.
Australian captain Michael Clarke, who was forced out of this match because of hamstring injury, lavished praise on his bowlers, whom he otherwise thought were a bit erratic with their line and length in the previous matches. "Much better team without me I reckon. The boys were very good with the ball. I was a bit harsh on them in the previous matches but they did really well today. All the boys have a few more grey hairs," he said.
Clarke, meanwhile, remained confident of his participation in the upcoming tour of the West Indies, where Australia are scheduled to play five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals, apart from three Test matches. "Hopefully I will get to Windies at the back-end of the one-dayers. Watson's done another good job. I think we continue to see the strength of our domestic set up, getting guys ready for Australia," he said.
Clint Mckay, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his five-for said he had to remain focused while bowling the last over of the Sri Lankan run chase as the thought of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting him for a six over his head to clinch a win earlier in the tournament at the same venue remained in his mind.
He added that his contribution with the bat was important as Australia were in a precarious stage at that point of time. "The batting was important to the situation in this game. It's great to be back in this squad. I had to keep the six by Dhoni (at Adelaide) out of my head," Mckay said. The man-of-the-series Sri Lankan opener Tillakratne Dilshan, who scored 513 runs at an healthy average of 51.30 in the tournament, said the team played some really good cricket but were not good enough with the bat in the final. "We played very well throughout but today we didn't finish well. We've played great cricket after SA. I took the wrong option against Lee, but they bowled and fielded well," he said.
ScoreCard
AUSTRALIA:
M Wade c Sangakkara b Herath    49
D Warner c Sangakkara b Maharoof    48
S Watson c Herath b Dilshan    19
M Hussey run out    1
D Hussey lbw b Maharoof    19
P Forrest b Herath    3
D Christian c Jayawardene b Maharoof    19
B Lee b Kulasekara    32
C McKay c Maharoof b Herath    28
X Doherty not out    5
N Lyon c sub b Kulasekara    0
EXTRAS: (b2, lb3, w3)    8
TOTAL: (all out; 49.3 overs)    231
FOW: 1-75, 2-115, 3-119, 4-123, 5-135, 6-151, 7-177, 8-217, 9-231, 10-231
BOWLING: Dilshan 10-1-41-1, Kulasekara 9.3-0-40-2, Malinga 10-0-69-0, Maharoof 10-0-40-3, Herath 10-0-36-3
SRI LANKA:
M Jayawardene b McKay    15
T Dilshan c Hussey b Lee    8
K Sangakkara c Watson b Lee    19
D Chandimal lbw b McKay    5
L Thirimanne c Warner b Watson    30
U Tharanga c Wade b Watson    71
C Kapugedera c Wade b McKay    7
N Kulasekara c Lyon b Lee    15
F Maharoof not out    18
R Herath b McKay    0
L Malinga b McKay    6
EXTRAS: (lb9, w12)    21
TOTAL: (all out; 48.5 overs)    215
FOW: 1-23, 2-47, 3-52, 4-53, 5-113, 6-142, 7-172, 8-204, 9-205, 10-215
BOWLING: Lee 8-0-59-3, Doherty 8-0-49-0, McKay 9.5-1-28-5, Watson 7-0-13-2, Lyon 8-0-36-0, Christian 8-1-21-0