Australia finished their five-match ODI series on a winning note as they recorded a 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final ODI game while Sri Lanka won the series 3-2 after 30 years at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday. Kusal Mendis was adjudged the Player of the Series while Chamika Karunaratne was named the Man of the Match.
The wicket-keeper Alex Carey made an unbeaten knock of 45 in 65 balls with a boundary while Cameron Green with his unbeaten 25 in 26 balls which included 2 fours and a six helped seal their victory in the 40th over.
Sri Lankan top order-batters made soft dismissals to the innings and Aussies fought back strongly. Meanwhile, on the field, Danushka Gunathilaka suffered an injury and was sent back to the pavilion.
The 19-year-old Dunith Wellalage made impressive figures of 3 for 42 from his ten-over spell while Maheesh Theekshana finished with 2 for 26 and debutant paceman Pramod Madushan took the solitary wicket of Mitchell Marsh.
Sri Lanka were struggling 85 for 8 wickets after 24.2 overs but Chamika Karunaratne who stroked his maiden half-century and debutant Pramod Madushan who scored 15 in 52 balls with 2 fours rescued the side by being involved in a 58-run partnership in 101 balls helping the hosts to a respectable total.
Sri Lanka chose to bat first but the openers Dhanushka Gunatilaka and Pathum Nissanka were unable to make a good start while the in-form right hander Pathum Nissanka was out just 2 runs in 4 balls as paceman Josh Hazelwood took his wicket with wicket-keeper Alex Carey taking a smart catch in the third over. Dhanushka Gunatilaka who replaced Niroshan Dickwella but he played an irresponsible shot which resulted in Skipper Aaron Finch taking the catch at mid off off the bowling of Hazelwood in the 5th over.
Dinesh Chandimal the experienced batter replaced Dhananjaya de Silva at this game but he couldn’t stay long and was back to the pavilion in the 9th over only scoring five runs in 11 balls with a boundary and Pat Cummins taking his wicket in the 9 the over and Sri Lanka were struggling at 34 for 3 wickets after 8.4 overs.
Charith Asalanka and Kusal Mendis tried to repair the damage but unfortunately in the 16th over a misunderstanding between Mendis and Asalanka which resulted in last match centurion Asalanka returning to the pavilion being run out and followed by Kusal Mendis who was out in hit wicket off the bowling of Glenn Maxwell and which saw Sri Lanka being five wickets down in 16 overs.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka could not stay long being bowled by leg spinner Matthew Kuhenmann scoring only one run in 3 balls while young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage started with a boundary but in the very next ball was out caught by mid on fielder Pat Cummins off the bowling Kuhenmann.
Jeffrey Vandasay was the second run out victim for 4 runs while Chamika Karunaratne the gusty all rounder was the Sri Lankan hero who reached his well-deserved half-century in 63 balls while debutant Pramod Madushan played a supporting role adding remarkable 58 runs in a 9th wicket partnership.
Madushan played a good role was finally out 15 in 52 balls with 2 fours when all rounder Cameron Green made a breakthrough with a return catch at 42nd over.
Chamika Karunaratne who played a heroic innings hit two back to back sixes off the bowling of Marnus Labuschagne was the last man out at 43.1 over when wicket keeper Alex Carey took a catch off Pat Cummins who finished 2 for 22. Josh Hazelwood and Matthew Kuhenmann also took 2 wickets each while Maxwell and Green shared one wicket each.
Sri Lanka made three changes with Danushka Gunathalika, Dinesh Chandimal, and Pramod Madushan – coming in for Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Wanindu Hasaranga. All-rounder Dhananjaya was ill (fever) while Dhanushka was back to the side after recovering from injury and Hasaranga was rested for this game as he had not recovered from his injury.
Meanwhile, Australia made just the one change bringing in Josh Inglis for Travis Head.
The five ODI series gave much-needed exposure for Sri Lanka team having series win against Australia after 30 years while R.Premadasa Stadium was packed with spectators most of them wore yellow kits to honour Australia team and they got full entertainment during this game.