KANDY: Spinner Ajantha Mendis produced the best figures in Twenty20 internationals on Monday to bowl Sri Lanka to an eight-run win over Australia at the Pallakele Stadium and a 2-0 series win.
Mendis bemused the Australian batsman to finish with six for 16 off four overs, including a maiden. He is the first bowler to take six wickets in the shortest form of the game.
Australia did well to contain Sri Lanka to a total of 157-9 but were restricted themselves to 149-9 after Shane Watson had got them off to a flying start with 57 off 24 balls including five sixes and six fours.
Watson and David Warner (16) put on 71 for the first wicket before an inspired piece of fielding by Angelo Mathews on the boundary line to dismiss Warner started a sensational Australian collapse.
Mathews took the catch and, before stepping over the boundary, threw the ball to Mahela Jayawardene 30 metres away to give Mendis the first of his six wickets.
Australia slid to 113-6 but skipper Cameron White kept their hopes alive with 39 off 33 balls before he fell in the final over with Australia needing 14 for victory.
Sri Lanka's innings was held together by a superb knock of 86 off 64 balls with one six and 12 fours by Mahela Jayawardene.
John Hastings put a brake on the Sri Lankan run rate by grabbing three wickets for 14 runs as Sri Lanka lost six wickets for 36 runs in the last six overs.
Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said Mathews' moment of brilliance had turned the match.
"We knew one or two wickets and we could put pressure on them. We were hanging in, and waiting for a breakthrough," he said.
Mathews said his reaction had been "pure instinct".
"I just saw Mahela and went for it. I wasn't looking at the boundary, I just wanted to take the catch and relay it to Mahela after I saw it," he said. AGENCIES