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 ODI at The Gabba.
Australia were bowled out for the embarrassing total of 74 on Thursday, 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 today 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."
The South Africa-born coach does not credit Australia's rotation policy for the shift in momentum in the one-day series.
"To be honest we've just focussed on our game and haven't worried too much about who they're putting out there or rotation policies," he said.
"We do know that they've got a lot of depth in their cricket and whoever they put out there presents a good challenge for us."
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."