Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Bowlers help Sri Lanka beat Australia in 5th T20I, Australia win the series by 4-1
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 155 for 5 (Mendis 69*, Richardson 2/28) beat Australia 154 for 6 (Wade 43*, Kumara 2/30) by five wickets
Australia locked horns with Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the fifth T20I of the five-match series between the two island nations. Australia skipper Aaron Finch won the toss and opted to bat first on the two-paced MCG pitch. Sri Lanka played two debutants Kamil Mishara and Janith Liyanage in the final game of the series.
Sri Lankan bowlers taste early success
Right-arm off-break bowler Maheesh Theekshana took the new ball and created an opportunity in the first over only, however, the catch of opener Ben McDermott was dropped by debutant Janith Liyanage at mid-wicket.
Theekshana and speedster Dushmantha Chameera kept tight lines to keep Australian openers quiet which yielded success in the fourth over of the innings as Aaron Finch was caught by Lahiru Kumara at mid-on off Chameera. Finch could make only 8 off 12 deliveries in this innings.
Opener McDermott also couldn’t play freely and succumbed to pressure created by Sri Lankan bowlers. Pathum Nissanka grabbed the catch of McDermott at cover point off the bowling of spinner Praveen Jayawickrama. McDermott could make only 3 runs off 13 balls in this bizarre innings.
Glenn Maxwell and Josh Inglis rebuild the innings
Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell joined Josh Inglis in the middle with his team on 12 for 2. Maxwell tried to counterattack immediately after coming in the middle. He pummelled two back-to-back boundaries off pacer Lahiru Kumara. On the other end, Inglis followed Maxwell by hitting two boundaries in an over bowled by Jayawickrama.
As the pair of Maxwell and Inglis looked settled, Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka brought back Theekshana and Chameera to the attack.
Dushmanatha Chameera breaks the pair of Inglis-Maxwell
Chameera didn’t disappoint his captain and picked the wicket of Inglis. The umpire had first given him not out, however, DRS forced him to overturn the decision to send back Inglis to the hut. Inglis made 23 runs off 20 deliveries. Next batter Marcus Stoinis smoked a flat six over long off. However, Stoinis got caught by Chameeka Karunaratne at mid-off off Kumara on 17. Kumara also bagged the wicket of Maxwell in the same over as Chameera took a catch at third man. Maxwell made 29 runs off 21 balls with the help of two boundaries and one six.
Matthew Wade and Daniel Sams compiled a fifty-run partnership
Sri Lanka bowlers kept the opposition batters quiet in the next two overs. However, wicketkeeper batter Matthew Wade smacked two boundaries off Theekshana in his last over. Theekshana failed to take any wicket in this innings. In the 17th over, Wade and Daniel Sams hammered Kumara for two fours and one six to collect 17 runs. Wade smoked an astronomical six over long on off Chameera to add a fifty-run partnership with Sams. Sri Lanka bowlers conceded only 17 runs in the last two overs. Sams got caught by substitute fielder Dhanushka Gunathilaka on 18. Australia could manage to reach 154 after losing six wickets in 20 overs.
Sri Lanka lost three wickets early in the innings
Sri Lanka opted for a new batting pair today of Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis. Mendis looked in fine form at the start and struck some elegant boundaries. However, his partner Nissanka got caught by Maxwell off Kane Richardson on 13.
Debutant Kamil Mishara got run out unfortunately on just 1. Next batter Charith Asalanka took an aggressive approach from the start. However, Ashton Agar struck on his first ball in the innings and bowled Asalanka. The batter made 20 runs off nine deliveries.
Kusal Mendis and Dasun Shanaka helped their side over the line
Sri Lanka continued to lose wickets throughout the first half of their innings. However, Sri Lankan skipper Shanaka assisted Mendis well to rebuild the innings. Mendis hit occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard ticking. Mendis completed his half-century in just 43 deliveries.
In the last over when Sri Lanka required 7 runs off four balls, Shanaka smashed a gigantic six over deep square leg off Kane Richardson. However, Richardson cleaned up Shanaka on the next delivery to put Sri Lanka under pressure. But all-rounder Karunaratne kept his cool and took one run on the penultimate ball to help Sri Lanka bag their first win in the series to salvage some pride.
Mendis remained unbeaten on 69 off 58 deliveries with the help of five boundaries and one six. He was awarded the player of the match award for his match-winning knock whereas Maxwell was awarded the player of the series award.
Australia vs Sri Lanka five-match T20I series ends, Australia clinch it by 4-1.