Kusal Mendis hits fifty as Sri Lanka get consolation win
MELBOURNE: Opener Kusal Mendis struck an unbeaten 69 off 58 balls to help secure a consolation five-wicket victory for Sri Lanka, who fired with both bat and ball against Australia in the fifth and final Twenty20 international on Sunday.
The hosts posted a middling 154-6 after opting to bat in Melbourne, but the Sri Lankan batsmen finally found their feet to reach 155-5 with one ball remaining, ending the series 4-1 in Australia’s favour.
Mendis batted positively, but sensibly, with captain Dasun Shanaka (35) in an 83-run partnership which powered Sri Lanka to their first win against Australia in any format since 2017.
Seamer Kane Richardson took 2-28, but Australia’s second-string bowling attack never looked threatening after conceding 54-2 in the powerplay.
“When we come to the World Cup (in October), we will be really prepared,” Shanaka said.
“We could have done better in this series.” Reduced to 13-2 after five overs, Australia struggled to build any partnerships of substance as Dushmantha Chameera (2-30) and Lahiru Kumara (2-34) troubled the batsmen with pace.
Aaron Finch’s summer, in which the skipper scored 78 runs at a strike rate of 92, ended with a whimper when he was caught on eight.
Matthew Wade struck 43 not out in the back end of the innings to drag his side to a competitive score.
“It (154) probably just wasn’t quite enough at the end,” Finch said.
“Sri Lanka are a very dangerous side and to win four games in a row was really good.” Australia now prepare for their first test on Pakistani soil since 1998, scheduled to begin on March 4, while Sri Lanka’s next assignment is a T20 series in India starting on Thursday.
A. Finch c Kumara b Chameera 8
B. McDermott c Nissanka b Jayawickrama 3
J. Inglis c&b Chameera 23
G. Maxwell c Chameera b Kumara 29
M. Stoinis c Karunaratne b Kumara 17
M. Wade not out 43
D. Sams c Gunathilaka b Karunaratne 18
A. Agar not out 4
EXTRAS (LB-2, W-7) 9
Total (for six wickets in 20 overs) 154
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-11 (Finch) 2-12 (McDermott), 3-55 (Inglis), 4-79 (Stoinis), 5-82 (Maxwell), 6-146 (Sams)
BOWLING: Theekshana 4-0-27-0, Kumara 4-0-34-2, Chameera 4-0-30-2, Jayawickrama 4-0-29-1, Karunaratne 4-0-32-1
DID NOT BAT: J.Richardson, K. Richardson, A. Zampa
P. Nissanka c Maxwell b K.Richardson 13
K. Mendis not out 69
K. Mishara run out 1
C. Asalanka b Agar 20
J. Liyanage run out 8
D. Shanaka b K.Richardson 35
C. Karunaratne not out 1
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-1, W-6) 8
TOTAL (for five wickets in 19.5 overs) 155
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-23 (Nissanka), 2-24 (Mishara), 3-54 (Asalanka), 4-71 (Liyanage), 5-154 (Shanaka)
BOWLING: Stoinis 2-0-13-0, Sams 2.1-0-22-0, J. Richardson 4-0-38-0, K. Richardson 3.4-0-28-2, Agar 4-0-19-1, Zampa 4-0-33-0
DID NOT BAT: D. Chameera, P.Jayawickrama, M. Theekshana, L. Kumara
RESULT: Sri Lanka won by five wickets
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Kusal Mendis
UMPIRES: Donovan Koch (Australia) and Sam Nogajski (Australia)
TV UMPIRE: Shawn Craig (Australia)
MATCH REFEREE: David Boon (Australia)
Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2022