Sri Lanka failed to defend 131 as the Australian Prime Minister’s XI snuck home to a thrilling one-wicket win in their warm-up T20 match played at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Thursday (24).
Ahead of the three-match T20I series which starts on Sunday, the Sri Lankans fielded a team minus regular skipper Lasith Malinga, Isuru Udana, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera and Shehan Jayasuriya.
After opting to bat first, opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka, fresh off a successful Pakistan tour, started his innings by cutting off-spinner Chris Green through the covers. But, in the second over of the match, he was caught behind off Djal Bloomfield courtesy a thin under edge.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka newest number three batsman in T20Is – following a stellar series in Pakistan, continued his good form with a couple of massive sixes – slog sweeping the off-spinner and hooking the seamer to set the platform. He cut one through the backward point region off Fawad Ahmed to collect a boundary but few balls later, missed a straight one only to find his stumps rattled.
Kusal Mendis, who came out as an opening batsman looked rusty as he was returning from a leg injury, which he picked up during the second T20I against New Zealand last month. He flicked the Australian co-Captain Dan Christian’s first delivery straight to deep square leg to end a 10-ball struggle as the visitors were three down for 40.
Oshada Fernando, the star from the third T20I against Pakistan and stand-in captain Niroshan Dickwella, somewhat resurrected the Sri Lankan innings with a fine 41-run stand for the fourth wicket. Fernando batted with pure class, flicking and pulling to end as the top run-scorer for the visitors.
Dickwella miscued a scoop while Fernando misread a slow delivery as the Sri Lankan innings lost momentum towards the latter part of the innings with wickets falling at regular intervals. Wanindu Hasaranga batted well with the tail to push the score to 131.
The Lankan seamers used the new ball to great effect to rock the Australians early. Jordan Silk missed a straight one as the ball ricocheted off the pads onto the stumps as Nuwan Pradeep struck in the second over.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is set to finalize the vacant coaching roles in the national team next month.
Kasun Rajitha attacked the stumps and got the ball to swing late as the dangerous Chris Lynn was castled in the third over. He picked up his second scalp as Jason Sangha was caught brilliantly by Kusal Mendis at first slip to have Australia in trouble at 26 for 3.
With the introduction of wrist-spin, the hosts struggled as Lakshan Sandakan pierced through the middle order, picking up three crucial wickets with the help of Dickwella behind the stumps, who managed one caught behind and two stumpings. With the PM’s XI 6 down for 91 in the 14th over, the visitors looked like they’d take the win.
However, opening batsman Harry Nielsen held fort from one end to take the game deep with a brilliant 79 off 50 balls with 9 fours and 1 six.
With Nielsen on strike, Kasun Rajitha, had to defend 10 runs off the final 6 balls. He bowled a wide in the first ball, but followed it up with a length delivery which got the crucial wicket of Nielsen.
Rajitha, who had bowled brilliantly until the last three balls of the match, delivered two full-tosses and a wide as the home team sneaked home.
|Kusal Mendis||c Djali Bloomfield b Daniel Christian||7||10||0||0||70.00|
|Danushka Gunathilaka||c Harry Nielsen b Djali Bloomfield||7||8||1||0||87.50|
|Bhanuka Rajapakse||b Fawad Ahmed||24||17||2||2||141.18|
|Oshada Fernando||c Peter Siddle b Daniel Christian||38||25||3||2||152.00|
|Niroshan Dickwella||c Harry Nielsen b Peter Siddle||11||10||1||0||110.00|
|Dasun Shanaka||c Harry Nielsen b Daniel Fallins||7||10||0||0||70.00|
|Wanindu Hasaranga||run out (Jason Sangha)||26||29||1||0||89.66|
|Lakshan Sandakan||c Peter Siddle b Djali Bloomfield||2||8||0||0||25.00|
|Kasun Rajitha||not out||2||3||0||0||66.67|
|Extras||7 (b 4 , lb 2 , nb 0, w 1, pen 0)|
|Total||131/8 (20 Overs, RR: 6.55)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-10 (1.5) Danushka Gunathilaka, 2-38 (5.4) Bhanuka Rajapakse, 3-40 (6.1) Kusal Mendis, 4-81 (10.4) Niroshan Dickwella, 5-94 (12.1) Oshada Fernando, 6-110 (15.6) Dasun Shanaka, 7-120 (18.3) Lakshan Sandakan, 8-131 (19.6) Wanindu Hasaranga,|
|Harry Nielsen||c Bhanuka Rajapakse b Kasun Rajitha||79||50||9||1||158.00|
|Jordan Silk||b Nuwan Pradeep||5||8||1||0||62.50|
|Chris Lynn||b Kasun Rajitha||3||7||0||0||42.86|
|Jason Sangha||c Kusal Mendis b Kasun Rajitha||0||5||0||0||0.00|
|Daniel Christian||c Niroshan Dickwella b Lakshan Sandakan||13||15||0||1||86.67|
|Mackenzie Harvey||st Niroshan Dickwella b Lakshan Sandakan||3||8||0||0||37.50|
|Chris Green||st Niroshan Dickwella b Lakshan Sandakan||1||2||0||0||50.00|
|Peter Siddle||b Lahiru Kumara||9||10||0||0||90.00|
|Daniel Fallins||run out (Wanindu Hasaranga)||5||7||0||0||71.43|
|Fawad Ahmed||not out||9||7||1||0||128.57|
|Djali Bloomfield||not out||0||0||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||5 (b 1 , lb 0 , nb 0, w 4, pen 0)|
|Total||132/9 (19.5 Overs, RR: 6.66)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-12 (1.5) Jordan Silk, 2-15 (2.6) Chris Lynn, 3-26 (4.5) Jason Sangha, 4-49 (9.1) Daniel Christian, 5-89 (13.2) Mackenzie Harvey, 6-91 (13.5) Chris Green, 7-108 (16.3) Peter Siddle, 8-119 (18.1) Daniel Fallins, 9-123 (19.1) Harry Nielsen,|