Cricket - Ford lauds Sri Lanka spirit

Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has praised the fighting spirit of his players after they thumped Australia in the third one-day international at The Gabba.

PA Sport
Cricket - Ford lauds Sri Lanka spirit
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Nuwan Kulasekara was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers as they dismantled Australia

Australia were bowled out for the embarrassing total of 74, with Nuwan Kulasekara (five for 22) completely bamboozling the top order with a textbook spell of swing bowling. The Sri Lankans stuttered in the chase, losing six wickets along the way, but still managed to surpass the total with 30 overs to spare.

After losing the Test series 3-0, then losing heavily to Australia in the first ODI in Melbourne, Sri Lanka have shown great resolve to turn the tables on their opponents in Adelaide and Brisbane, according to Ford. "I've always had huge admiration for the Sri Lankan fight and the character that they show," Ford said.

"I think everybody in the camp was a little bit disappointed after the Test series and certainly after the first ODI but they've stuck together, they've chatted a lot, the coaches have worked really hard with the players and they've come here and certainly put in the best bowling performance since I've been involved.

"So once again it's great to see the character that the Sri Lankan cricketers show."

Michael Clarke's side's inability to handle the swing of Kulasekara on Friday was not an indication of a greater malaise in Australian cricket, according to Ford.

"No batsman really looked at home out there on that surface so I don't think it's fair to start judging Australian batting on that performance," he said.

"But certainly one of the things that we've spoken a lot about is improving the ability to assess conditions and then adapt to conditions and I thought the bowlers did that fantastically. At times on the tour we've shown that we can adapt as a batting unit as well and that's something we have to keep doing."

Finally, Ford spoke of the value of opening bowler Kulasekara to the team.

"He's always been a big factor for us. He does a fantastic job with the new ball and has great skills at the end of the innings as well," Ford said. "He really used those conditions superbly well and bowled the perfect length required on that surface."

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