Richardson, Finch and Maxwell help Australia take to 3-0 lead in five-match series.
Brief Scores: Australia 124/4 (Maxwell 39(26), Finch 35(36); Theekshana 3/24) beat Sri Lanka 121/6 (Shanaka 39(38), Chandimal 25(29; Richardson 3/21) by 6 wickets
Despite a spirited bowling effort by Maheesh Theekshana in the third T20I game, Australia brushed aside the Sri Lankan effort and took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match series. The visitors were without the services of Wanindu Hasaranga and the hosts were deprived of Steve Smith. The former tested positive for COVID-19 before the game and the latter suffered a concussion blow in the last game trying to go for a catch near the boundary rope.
Aaron Finch won the toss and as the trend has been, elected to bowl first.
Richardson breaks the back of SL top-order as they get reduced to 40/4 by the 8th over
Danushka Gunathalika and Charith Asalanka’s horrid form with the bat continued and Sri Lanka were rocked early on again. Kane Richardson struck twice as Sri Lanka found themselves at 37/2 as the field restrictions ended. Any hopes for a revival took a massive hit when Ashton Agar and Glenn Maxwell rocked the visitors again in two successive overs. We were just in the eighth over of the innings and four wickets were down for Sri Lanka with just 40 runs on the board.
Post this skipper Dasun Shanaka and Dinesh Chandimal combined for a 47-run stand for the fifth wicket. It was around the 16th over when Shanaka found some rhythm and struck a few boundaries off Daniel Sams. The visitors, however, were rocked again losing their fifth wicket in the form of Dinesh Chandimal. Kane Richardson swung back in for his third over and broke the partnership.
Sri Lanka finished with an underwhelming 121 runs on the board. The innings never got underway and the batters had only themselves to blame. Shanaka and Chandimal put up a fight but they never looked threatening enough to take the game away from the opposition.
Theekshana gives two early wickets to SL but Australia find their way back
WIth a small target of 122 to chase down, Australia sprung a surprise and it was Ashton Agar who accompanied Ben McDermott and not Aaron Finch. The home side were jolted early when Theekshana removed McDermott for a golden duck. Even Agar couldn’t make much of the opportunity and departed cheaply with Australia’s score being just 26.
Glenn Maxwell and skipper Aaron Finch stitched in a 50-run stand for the fourth wicket and that pretty much sealed the fate of the game. Finch looked scratchy and it was the big show who accepted the role of the aggressor. Theekshana struck again for the third time but that was never going to be enough against this bullish Australian side.
Josh Inglis impressed once again and added a notable score coming in late down the order. Australia won the game easily in the end by six wickets with 19 balls to spare. With the exception of Theekshana, none of the SL bowlers looked threatening enough.
Kane Richardson was awarded the player of the match award for his figures of 3/21.
The two teams will now head to Melbourne for playing the remaining two matches of the series on February 18 and February 20, respectively.