South Africa had already been touring Australia for a month, but did not win any of their four first-class matches, and lost the Test series 0–2. Before that, they had been playing 14 successive ODIs, with their last series being a 2–2 draw in India. Sri Lanka were touring New Zealand immediately before this series, completing a tour that should have been played in 2004–05 but was postponed because of the Asian Tsunami; they lost three ODIs and won only one. Their last ODI series before that was a 1–6 loss in India. At the start of the series, they were seventh on the ICC ODI Championship table ; South Africa were second, 17 points behind leaders Australia and 12 points ahead of Sri Lanka.
|VB Series after 12 matches|
|No.||Date||Team 1||Team 2||Stadium||Location|
|Group Stage Schedule|
|1||13 January 2006||AUS||SL||Telstra Dome||Melbourne|
|2||15 January 2006||AUS||SA||The Gabba||Brisbane|
|3||17 January 2006||SL||SA||The Gabba||Brisbane|
|4||20 January 2006||AUS||SA||Telstra Dome||Melbourne|
|5||22 January 2006||AUS||SL||SCG||Sydney|
|6||24 January 2006||SL||SA||Adelaide Oval||Adelaide|
|7||26 January 2006||AUS||SL||Adelaide Oval||Adelaide|
|8||29 January 2006||AUS||SL||WACA Ground||Perth|
|9||31 January 2006||SL||SA||WACA Ground||Perth|
|10||3 February 2006||AUS||SA||Telstra Dome||Melbourne|
|11||5 February 2006||AUS||SA||SCG||Sydney|
|12||7 February 2006||SL||SA||Bellerive Oval||Hobart|
|Final 1||10 February 2006||AUS||SL||Adelaide Oval||Adelaide|
|Final 2||12 February 2006||AUS||SL||SCG||Sydney|
|Final 3||14 February 2006||AUS||SL||The Gabba||Brisbane|
South Africans won by 94 runs The South Africans scored almost twice as much as Queensland in this match, as both Boeta Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph outscored Queensland's first eight partnerships. Mitchell Johnson, Andy Bichel and Michael Kasprowicz had taken a wicket each in the first twelve overs, and the tourists were three for 44, but Dippenaar and Rudolph added 88 for the fourth wicket before Rudolph was caught behind off Kasprowicz. Though Johnson added two more wickets, Dippenaar ended with 80 from the opening position, and the South Africans' innings totalled 205. Then, during the first 61 balls off the innings, Queensland lost six wickets. Five batsmen went for single-figure scores, as Garnett Kruger and Shaun Pollock shared the six scalps between them. A five-over partnership worth 22 between Bichel and wicket-keeper Chris Hartley took Queensland past 50, before Monde Zondeki had two men caught in the sixteenth over. Eventually, Queensland were bowled out for 111, Bichel sharing a 50-run stand with Nathan Hauritz before he was caught off Johan Botha's bowling. Charl Langeveldt, South Africa's substitute whose main asset was his bowling, was not used.
Victoria won by seven wickets
Victoria, who had qualified for the Twenty20 Big Bash final three days earlier, had Allan Wise take five wickets when they hosted the Sri Lankans in Melbourne. After rain had proceedings delayed early on, and reduced each team's innings to 40 overs, Wise got a wicket in his opening over, and continued to end with figures of 8–2–25–5. Seven of the conceded runs were due to wides. When Wise had his final wicket – that of Chamara Kapugedera – the Sri Lankans were six for 57, and though Kumar Sangakkara put on 43 with Farveez Maharoof for the seventh wicket, the total was still 120. Nearly a third of that was due to extras, as 25 wides and eight leg-byes were conceded by Victoria. The hosts lost three for 44 in the first 11 overs, but Michael Klinger and Andrew McDonald saw the Bushrangers home with an unbroken partnership of 77.
South Africans won by 46 runs
Half-centuries from Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince, who shared a fourth-wicket stand worth 109, took the visitors to a total of seven for 234 after losing two wickets in the first four overs, and though captain Chris Simpson took three for 40 and top-scored with 55 in the reply, the Academy team was bowled out for 188, with Andrew Hall and Johan Botha taking three wickets each. The 14 overs sent down by Garnett Kruger and Kallis cost an aggregate of 92 runs to the two bowlers, while the other 29.3 cost 95.
Sri Lanka's two most experienced bowlers, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, had combined bowling figures of 20–1–140–0, and Australia's total of five for 318 was eventually enough in securing a bonus point. Damien Martyn, playing his first international for three months after he was dropped from the Test side and missed the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy through injury, top-scored with 70, and Simon Katich and Andrew Symonds also hit half-centuries. 80 runs came off the sixth-wicket partnership between Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey, which lasted 66 balls. When Sri Lanka replied, they lost both openers within the first three overs, and Michael Vandort, who batted at three, made his 48 runs at a run rate of just below 2.5 an over, 40 % of the required rate. Though Mahela Jayawardene made a half-century, Sri Lanka's final total was not enough to prevent Australia from gaining a bonus point.
Australia won the toss, batted, and had Adam Gilchrist drag a ball from Shaun Pollock onto his own stumps with the very first ball of the match, to see Ricky Ponting at the crease in the first over. Pollock also took the next two wickets, Katich for 0 and Martyn for 12, and ended with bowling figures of 10–2–30–3, and Andrew Hall backed up Pollock's efforts with wickets in successive overs to leave Australia at six for 71. Michael Hussey and Brett Lee then added 123 in nearly 27 overs, making half-centuries in the process, before two run outs left Australia all out for 228. South Africa's first 45 overs yielded 182 runs, leaving them 47 to get off the last 30 deliveries, with Boeta Dippenaar's 74 coming at a rate just above 4 an over, but Justin Kemp and Mark Boucher took 17 off Lee's final over, including one six from Kemp over long on, and with ten balls remaining South Africa needed five runs. A tropical storm caused a "brief delay" before Kemp secured victory with seven balls to spare when he drove a ball from Nathan Bracken through the off side.
South Africa won the toss and elected to field first. This decision was criticised after the game, with Cricinfo journalist Jenny Thompson claiming the toss would "probably be first up" on the list of reasons why South Africa lost. South Africa got a wicket in the sixth over when Garnett Kruger dismissed Upul Tharanga, but half-centuries from Jehan Mubarak and Kumar Sangakkara carried the team to 145 for 2, and a further five batsmen made it into double figures as the Sri Lankans closed on six for 282. Chaminda Vaas then served up bowling figures of 8–2–21–2, removing Graeme Smith and Shaun Pollock, and two run outs and three wickets from Malinga Bandara helped bowl South Africa out for 188 with 34 balls remaining.
The South African middle order collapsed due mostly to the bowling of Brett Lee. Shaun Pollock had some good batting with several sixes but it was not enough. Australia received a bonus point because they won by more than 50 runs.
Sri Lanka were unable to catch South Africa, finishing only a few runs behind. Sri Lanka needed 68 off 60 balls, but South Africa bowled a very good length near the end. The South Africans did very well in the last ten overs.
|Sri Lanka||8/233 (50 overs)||Australia won by six wickets|
DPMD Jayawardene 69 (93)|
SR Clark 2/40 
WACA Ground, Perth, Australia|
Umpires: MR Benson (Eng) and PD Parker (Aus)
Man of the Match: AC Gilchrist (Aus)
|Australia||4/237 (41 overs)|
AC Gilchrist 116 (105)|
WPUJC Vaas 2/40 
Adam Gilchrist struck a century on home soil as Australia overtook the target with nine overs to spare.
|Sri Lanka||221 (47.4 overs)||South Africa won by five wickets|
ST Jayasuriya 86 (65)|
GC Smith 3/30 
WACA Ground, Perth, Australia|
Umpires: MR Benson (Eng) and PD Parker (Aus)
Man of the Match: GC Smith (SA)
|South Africa||5/224 (45.1 overs)|
HH Dippenaar 87 (94)|
M Muralitharan 3/44 
Graeme Smith was Man of the Match due to his all-round efforts, dismissing Jehan Mubarak, Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene to take the first three wickets for South Africa and help them bowl out Sri Lanka for 221. He then hit 41 in a 70-minute partnership with Boeta Dippenaar, worth 84.
Andrew Symonds and Mike Hussey shared a sixth-wicket stand worth 109 in the last thirteen overs, which gave Hussey Man of the Match honours. Defending a total of 281, Brett Lee took four wickets including Graeme Smith in the first over, and South Africa were limited to 201 as Australia grabbed a win and the bonus point.
Australia had a bad start losing with Vaas taking 3 early wickets to reduce Australia to 3 for 10. Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, after a period of consolidation, combined to provide Australia with its highest one day international total among 7 other records set that day. Muttiah Muralitharan managed to set a new world record of having the worst figures ever from 10 overs, conceding 0-99. Sri Lanka were then bowled all out for 201 in 36 overs as the asking rate was simply too high. Notable during this game was a very fast outfield (called a "lightning-fast SCG outfield" here), with both teams hitting balls which easily went for four.
Opening batsmen Gilchrist and Katich gave Australia a huge start in the second innings. Gilchrist was bowled out and replaced by Ricky Ponting. Simon Katich scored his first century in a one day match in this game.