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Herath wrecks Australia, Sri Lanka sweep series

Last updated on: August 17, 2016 16:08 IST

Herath (7-64) claimed a 13-wicket match haul to bag the man-of-the-match award 

IMAGE: Sri Lanka players celebrate after their series win against Australia. Photograph: Twitter.

Sri Lanka completed a rare 3-0 sweep over Australia after left-arm spinner Rangana Herath spun the hosts to a comprehensive 163-run victory in the final test in Colombo on Wednesday.

Chasing 324 in a bid to salvage some pride, Australia got off to a strong start before surrendering to Herath's guile and folding for 160 before tea to lose their number one ranking.

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Herath (7-64) claimed a 13-wicket match haul to bag the man-of-the-match award while his 28 wickets from three tests also made him the obvious choice for the man-of-the-series award.

Set an improbable victory target on a final day track, Australia needed a good start and the tourists got that from David Warner and Shaun Marsh who raised 77 runs, the highest opening partnership in the low-scoring series.

Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera (2-71) separated them on the stroke of lunch and Herath claimed two wickets in an over after the break to trigger a batting collapse that Australia never recovered from.

IMAGE: Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath celebrates with team-mates. Photograph: Twitter.

Sri Lanka had batted for 4.3 overs in the morning to add 35 runs to their overnight score of 312 for eight before declaring. Overnight batsman Dhananjaya de Silva followed up his first innings century with an unbeaten 65.

They returned to attack with spin from both ends but Warner played with characteristic aggression, underlined when he sent a de Silva full toss into the stands for a massive six.

Perera dismissed Marsh for 23 when the batsman defended a delivery and Kusal Mendis thrust out his hands at forward short leg to parry the ball and twisted his body backwards to complete a stunning catch.

Warner brought up his first fifty of the series after lunch before the wheels came off Australia's challenge with Herath striking a double blow in his 10th over.

The wily left-arm spinner castled rival skipper Steve Smith (8) for the fifth time in six innings with the first delivery of the over and trapped Adam Voges leg-before with the last.

Perera cut short Warner's fluent innings at 68, bowling the southpaw around his legs in a dismissal that was a microcosm of the series in which the Sri Lankan spinners tormented the touring batsmen on tracks that suited them.

After Moises Henriques ran himself out, Herath mowed down the Australian lower order to complete the whitewash as Sri Lanka clinched the Warne-Muralitharan trophy in emphatic style.

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