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Sri Lanka level ODI series

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016 By Scott Bailey and Pete Smith

A James Faulkner hat-trick and Matt Wade half-century have failed to save Australia from a hefty 82-run defeat to Sri Lanka in Colombo.

Faulkner's hat-trick was the sixth for Australia in one-day cricket and the team's first in three years but it came too late as the home side cruised to 288 before the Tasmanian and Starc cleaned up the tail.

"We didn't execute well with the ball," captain Steve Smith said.

"We gave away too many freebies with the ball. They hit a lot of boundaries today.

"I thought 288 was well over par on that wicket."

Australia went into Wednesday's match with just one specialist paceman in Starc, while allrounders Faulkner and Moises Henriques added seam options.

The decision came back to hurt the Aussies, after Travis Head went for six boundaries in his four overs of 0-41, while Starc was also costly with 9.5-over figures of 3-53.

Faulkner (3-45) and Nathan Lyon (1-49) also went for more than five-an-over as Sri Lanka levelled the five-match series 1-1.

Only wicketkeeper Wade's career-best knock of 76 from 88 deliveries kept Australia's innings together as the top order again faltered on the sub-continent.

Openers David Warner (1) and Aaron Finch (4) went cheaply to put Australia on the back foot, while Smith (30), George Bailey (27) and Head (31) got starts but the run chase never looked likely.

In contrast, Wade's patient knock at No.5 featured just three boundaries as he controlled the Australian innings.

"He didn't look nervous at all. He took everything in his stride," Smith said.

"He looked to punch the ball off the back foot rather than cut it.

"It looks like he's got a game plan in place for these conditions and I'm sure that's going to hold him in good stead not only for these fixtures but in the future as well."

The wicket was more settled than the one used for Sunday's opening match but Sri Lanka's spinners, most notably Seekkuge Prasanna (1-48) and Amila Aponso (4-18), were a constant threat.

Yet it was the hosts' seamers that did much of the damage led by Thisara Perera (3-33) - who's scalps were all top order - and Angelo Mathews (2-17).

Australia were eventually dismissed for 206 off 47.2 overs.

Mathews (57) had earlier anchored the Sri Lankan innings, combining for a 103-run sixth-wicket partnership with Kusal Perera (54).

It was the second century stand of the innings after Dinesh Chandimal (48) and Kusal Mendis (69) set up the total with a 125-run third-wicket stand.

Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa bowled impressively midway through the innings to earn 3-42 from his 10 overs.

The series continues in Dambulla on Sunday.

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