Chamika’s knock in vain as Australia win by 4 Wickets

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Chamika Karunarathne’s lone innings went in vain as Australia registered a thrilling 4 wicket win in the last ODI of the five-match series played at RPS Colombo on Friday.

Sri Lanka handed a target of 160 runs and in reply Australia chased down the target with 63 balls to spare. Electing to bat, Sri Lanka lost the plot from the get go as three wickets fell inside the first 10 overs, with opener Pathum Nissanka (2) the first wicket to fall when he was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling in the 2nd over.

After the early breakthrough, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilake looked to rotate the strike with singles, but Gunathilaka (8) fell in attempting to break the shackles, as he was caught at mid-off. Adding salt to Sri Lanka’s wounds, Dinesh Chandimal (6) who was included in the playing XI, failed to impress when he threw away his wicket when an attempted cover drive went straight to Aaron Finch who completed the catch quite comfortably.

After the early set back, Kusal Mendis together with Charith Asalanka looked solid in the middle while slowly building a 22 run partnership for the fourth wicket, but a miscommunication between the duo saw Charith Asalanka walking back to the pavilion when he was run out courtesy of a brilliant piece of fielding from Matthew Kuhnemann.

In came skipper Dasun Shanaka to the crease, and Sri Lanka desperately needed a long innings from Kusal Mendis and Dasun Shanka, but for the second time in the series Kusal Mendis was hit wicket when he got down on one knee and looked to pull one square, but his back leg slid back onto the stumps to pin drop silence at the fully packed stadium.  A needless run out followed Mendis’ wicket, and Australia found themselves right on top. Their bowlers once again delivered when Dunith Wellalage (4) threw away his wicket to put Sri Lanka in further trouble.

Sri Lanka was in all sort of bother with 7-62 on the board, and were hoping for a big knock from skipper Dasun Shanaka, but he too failed to deliver when Matthew Kuhnemann went through Dasun’s defence to send the skipper back to the pavilion.

With wickets falling at regular intervals, Chamika Karunarathne looked to add some colour to the Lankan innings from down the order with a fighting 75 runs off 75 deliveries including 8 boundaries and 2 sixes. Chamika was the only batter to impress as the other batters failed to at least pass the 30 run mark.    

Chamika Karunarathne played an innings to remember, for his run a ball 75 runs helped Sri Lanka post a modest total before they were bowled out in 43.1 overs. He lifted Sri Lanka from an embarrassing 85 for 8 to 160 all out, striking up a 58-run ninth-wicket stand with debutant Pramod Madushan, before striking big blows in the company of No. 11 Maheesh Theekshana. In reply, Australia too followed a similar script struggling at 34-3 at the end of the powerplay. Sri Lanka bowlers were right on the money from the get go claiming the wickets of Aaron finch (0), David Warner (10) and debutant Josh Inglis (5) in quick succession.

 The two new batters at the crease (Mitchell Marsh and Marnus Labuschagne) looked confident in the middle and the duo engaged in a 31 run partnership for the fourth wicket to bring back the visitor’s back into the game.

However, debutant Pramod Madushan got the breakthrough to send Marsh back to the pavilion when he looked for the lofted drive, which ended up straight to the safe hands of Pathum Nissanka at deep cover.

With Australia reeling at 4-50 at the end of 15 overs, Marnus along with Alex Carey revived their innings with a 51 run partnership for the fifth wicket until Dunith Welallage got the breakthrough to send Marnus back to the pavilion for 31 runs.

With less than 40 runs required, Sri Lanka bowlers stormed back with back-to-back wickets including the all-important wicket of Glenn Maxwell (16) to pin back Australia, but Alex Carey stood firm and took his team over the line with a fighting 45*. Sri Lanka won the ODI series 3-2. The two sides will next meet in the first Test in Galle starting 29 June.  

Australia

D. Warner c Gunathilaka b Wellalage                                10

A. Finch c Asalanka b Theekshana                    00

M. Marsh c Nissanka b Liyanagamage             24

J. Inglis c Nissanka b Theekshana                    05

M. Labuschagne lbw b Wellalage                      31

A. Carey not out                                                    45

G. Maxwell b Wellalage                                        16

C. Green not out                                                   25

Extras (w 8)                                                           08

Total (39.3 overs)                                            164-6

Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Aaron Finch, 1.3 ov), 2-14 (David Warner, 2.3 ov), 3-19 (Josh Inglis, 5.2 ov), 4-50 (Mitchell Marsh, 14.5 ov), 5-101 (Marnus Labuschagne, 27.6 ov), 6-121 (Glenn Maxwell,
31.6 ov)

Bowling: Dunith Wellalage 10-0-42-3, Maheesh Theekshana 10-1-26-2, Pramod Madushan 3-0-13-1

Sri Lanka

D. Gunathilaka c Finch b Hazlewood                                08

P.Nissanka c †Carey b Hazlewood                    02

K. Mendis hit wicket b Maxwell                          26

D. Chandimal c Finch b Cummins                    06

C. Asalanka run out (Kuhnemann/Maxwell)    14

D. Shanaka b Kuhnemann                                  01

D. Wellalage c Cummins b Kuhnemann           04

C. Karunarathne c †Carey b Cummins             75

J. Vandersay run out (Labuschagne)                                04

P. Madushan c & b Green                                    15

M. Theekshana not out                                       02

Extras (w 3)                                                           03

Total (43.1 overs)  all out                                   160

Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Pathum Nissanka, 2.1 ov), 2-12 (Danushka Gunathilaka, 4.3 ov), 3-34 (Dinesh Chandimal, 8.4 ov), 4-56 (Charith Asalanka, 15.5 ov), 5-56 (Kusal Mendis, 15.6 ov), 6-61 (Dunith Wellalage, 16.4 ov), 7-62 (Dasun Shanaka, 16.6 ov), 8-85 (Jeffrey Vandersay, 24.2 ov), 9-143 (Pramod Madushan, 41.1 ov), 10-160 (Chamika Karunaratne, 43.1 ov)

Bowling: Josh Hazlewood 7-3-22-2, Matthew Kuhnemann 10-3-26-2, Pat Cummins 6.1-1-22-2, Glenn Maxwell 10-0-38-1, Cameron Green 2-0-13-1

By Mustaq Sydeen