Sri Lanka will meet India in an exciting title clash for the Champions Trophy after the hosts inflicted an emphatic seven-wicket win over Australia in the semi-final at Colombo today.
In a match that never rose to expected heights, Australia were bundled out for a paltry 162 in 48.4 overs with the Sri Lankan spinners doing the trick.
Sri Lanka then scored at a relaxed pace to notch up the required runs in 40 overs. Marvan Atapattu top-scored with 51 from 113 balls while Kumara Sangakkara and captain Sanath Jayasuriya made 48 and 42 respectively.
In a match billed as the battle between Sri Lankan spin and Australian pace, the former clearly walked away with the honours.
Australia elected to bat and started with customary flourish from Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. However, the good times lasted just six overs for the Aussies, by which time they had raced to 48 runs.
Sri Lanka went in with three specialist spinners but it was Aravinda de Silva who emerged as the unlikely hero for the hosts. De Silva got rid of dangerman Hayden in the seventh over after the batsman had scored only 13 runs.
That started a totally unexpected collapse of the formidable Aussie batting line-up with wickets falling at regular intervals. Australia slumped to 57 for four, then 96 for six and were finally bowled out for 162.
Shane Warne was the top scorer with 36 runs, adding 46 runs for the eighth wicket with Brett Lee who made 18. De Silva went on to bowl a superb spell, conceding just nine runs off his first nine overs, before being taken for seven runs in his last over.
Kumar Dharmasena, who dismissed Adam Gilchrist as the second wicket in the eighth over, also bowled brilliantly and returned figures of two for 30 from his ten overs.
By the time Muttiah Muralitharan came into action in the 18th over, Australia were already four wickets down for 64.
Apart from sending back Shane Watson for seven, the champion off-spinner also claimed the wicket of Warne, who was stumped by Sangakkara.
Muralitharan dismissed Glenn McGrath off the next ball to end the Australian innings and return with figures of three for 26.
The spinners bowled as many as 40 of the 49 overs and shared seven wickets between them.
Defending such a small total was always going to be difficult but Australia began well with McGrath and Gillespie producing fiery opening spells.
But once Jayasuriya and Atapattu saw them through, Sri Lankan victory looked quite assured. With the pitch aiding the spinners, Australia fell back on their ace, Shane Warne, and he did not disappoint his team.
In a fine spell of ten overs, Warne got rid of Jayasuriya with a beautiful straighter delivery and conceded just 25 runs. But that was not enough. He did not have enough support from the other side where Brett Lee went for a lot of runs.
Australia tried Lehmann's gentle spin but that was of no use as the Sri Lankans batted comfortably to reach their target.
Sangakkara's was the most attractive knock, his 48 coming off 63 balls with six boundaries. Jayasuriya also struck six fours in his 51-ball 42.