After three days of one-sided matches in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, fans and organisers were hoping for a close game between Bangladesh and South Africa at The Oval.
David Warner finally found form to hit the highest score by an Australian batsman in Sri Lanka and lift his side to a comfortable five-wicket win for a 4-1 series victory margin.
In his third match as captain, Warner scored 106 as Australia reached 5-199 to overhaul Sri Lanka’s modest tally of 195 with seven overs to spare in Pallekele.
Warner, who endured a modest Test series and averaged just nine in the previous four ODIs, was uncharacteristically watchful for much of his 126-ball innings.
He was eventually out caught and bowled by Dhananjaya de Silva with just seven runs required to win.
Remarkably, it was the first ODI century by an Australian in Sri Lanka with the previous mark being Mark Taylor’s score of 94 way back in 1992.
With opener Aaron Finch not batting after injuring his index finger attempting to take a catch, Australia were struggling early in their innings at 2-25.
However, George Bailey continued his consistent form, compiling a patient 44 off 73 balls and sharing a partnership of 132 with Warner for the third wicket.
Sri Lanka won the toss for the fourth consecutive match but they were unable to build on an impressive quickfire opening stand of 73 between captain Danushka Gunathilaka (39) and fellow opener De Silva (34).
The youthful home side suddenly lost three wickets in nine balls, and the wickets fell at regular intervals throughout the innings.
All six Australian bowlers claimed a share of the spoils, with frontline paceman Mitchell Starc (3-40) once again in damaging form.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa (2-43) also continued his good series in taking two top-order wickets.
Part-timer spinner Travis Head (2-22) made an unexpected double breakthrough, although his lbw dismissal of Kusal Perera was controversially confirmed by the third umpire despite an apparent inside edge.
Only some late hitting from Sachith Pathirana boosted Sri Lanka’s tally, before he was the last man out for 32 off 38 deliveries as the home side were dismissed after 40.2 overs.
It was a third win on the trot for Australia and follows their shock 3-0 Test series defeat last month.
Australia will complete their tour with Twenty20 matches against Sri Lanka on Tuesday and Friday.