Another poor batting display scripted Sri Lanka’s 3 wicket loss at the hands of Australia in the second T20 at RPS, Colombo yesterday. With this win the visiting team took an unassailable 2-0 lead to bag the series with a game to spare.
After being put into bat, another batting collapse was witnessed as the Sri Lankan batters once again failed to convert positive starts into big scores and were restricted to a below par 124-9 in their allotted 20 overs.
Sri Lanka were off to a poor start losing both openers (Danushka Gunathilake for 4 and Pathum Nissanka for 3) inside 3 overs. When the chips were down Kusal Mendis together with Charith Asalanka put on a watchful 70 run partnership for the third wicket to revive their innings.
Kusal Mendis smashed the ball all over the park for his run a ball 36, while Charith Asalanka – continuing his brilliant form – went onto score 39 runs off 33 deliveries including 2 boundaries and 2 sixes. Glenn Maxwell got the breakthrough in the 12th over to send the well-set Charith Asalanka back to the pavilion, when he came down the track and attempted a slog sweep but only succeeded in edging the ball to short mid-off, who made no mistake to complete the catch and pin back Sri Lanka’s charge.
Sri Lanka were reeling at 73-3 with 15 overs done and dusted, when Kusal Mendis took charge and looked to accelerate the innings. Unfortunately, he was out hit wicket off a brilliant bouncer by Jhye Richardson in the 14th over, which led to pin drop silence in the fully packed stadium.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka then joined Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the middle, but failed to add colour to the innings as Bhanuka (13) headed back to the hut after he gently lobbed a bouncer around the corner straight to short fine leg to add salt to Sri Lanka’s wounds, and from there onwards the home team never recovered.
Kane Richardson was the pick of the bowlers claiming 4 wickets, while Jhye Richardson bagged three wickets to wreak havoc with Sri Lanka’s batting lineup.
In reply, Australia were off to a fierce start as openers David Warner and Aaron Finch put on a quick 33 run partnership for the first wicket, with Finch smashing the bowlers all over the park to create some early trouble for the Lankans.
However, Sri Lanka had the last laugh when Finch was caught in the covers off Wanindu Hasaranga’s bowling, and the man with a golden arm once again delivered to send one down batter Mitchell Marsh (11) back to the pavilion in the 5th over to give the Sri Lankans a glimmer of hope.
Australia lost their third wicket in the last over of the powerplay when Steve Smith was struck plumb in front off Nuwan Thusara’s bowling to end the powerplay on 63-3.
David Warner was still a threat, but a brilliant fielding effort from Pathum Nissanka saw him run out for 21 to apply the brakes to Australia’s charge.
Despite wickets falling at regular intervals Australia maintained a run rate of over 10 runs per over. With 26 runs to win, Wanindu Hasaranga once again struck with back-to-back wickets to send Glenn Maxwell (19) and Ashton Agar (0) packing to pin down Australia’s charge.
However, Australia made sure there were no further hiccups as Matthew Wade (26*) and Jhye Richardson (9*) got the job done to take Australia over the line with 13 balls to spare.
Wanindu Hasaranga impressed with the ball with figures of 4-33, but his lone effort was not enough to take his team home.
(Pix by Kelum Chamara)
By Mustaq Sydeen
P Nissanka c M Marsh b J Richardson 03
D Gunathilaka c M Marsh b G Maxwell 04
C Asalanka c A Finch b G Maxwell 39
K Mendis Hit Wicket b Jhye Richardson 36
B Rajapaksa c J Hazlewood b K Richardson 13
D Shanaka c A Finch b Kane Richardson 14
W Hasaranga c D Warner b J Richardson 12
C Karunaratne c A Agar b K Richardson 0 0
D Chameera c A Agar b Kane Richardson 00
Maheesh Theekshana Not Out 01
Nuwan Thushara Not Out 02
Total (20.0 overs) 124-9
Fall of Wickets : 1-5 Gunathilaka, 2-7 Nissanka, 3-73 Asalanka, 4-90 Mendis, 5-101 Rajapaksa, 6-121 De Silva, 7-121 Shanaka, 8-121 Chameera, 9-121 Karunaratne
Bowling: Kane Richardson 4-0-30-4, Jhye Richardson 4-0-26-3, Glenn Maxwell 3-0-18-2
A Finch c D Gunathilaka b W Hasaranga 24
David Warner Run Out Pathum Nissanka 21
Mitchell Marsh lbw Wanindu Hasaranga 11
Steven Smith lbw Nuwan Thushara 05
G Maxwell c D Gunathilaka b W Hasaranga 19
M Stoinis c C Asalanka b D Chameera 09
Matthew Wade Not Out 26
Ashton Agar b Wanindu Hasaranga 00
Jhye Richardson Not Out 09
Total (17.5 overs) 126-7
Fall of Wickets : 1-33 Finch, 2-53 Marsh, 3-58 Smith, 4-64 Warner, 5-80 Stoinis, 6-99 Maxwell, 7-99 Agar
Bowling: Wanindu Hasaranga 4-0-33-4, Dushmantha Chameera 4-0-31-1, Nuwan Thushara 2-0-18-1