The openers Skipper Aaron Finch (61) and David Warner (70) made an unbroken 138 runs partnership as Australia grabbed a comfortable ten wickets victory over Sri Lanka in their rain hit first T- 20 game played at R.Premadasa International cricket stadium yesterday.
Finch scored 61 in 40 balls with 4 fours and 4 sixes while Warner hit 70 in 44 balls with 9 fours to seal their easy victory to get 1-0 series lead. Sri Lankans were disappointed at this game with poor performance from all three departments. This is Sri Lanka’ s heaveist defeat at home. 50 minutes lost during the Asustralian innings due to rain but match resumed with out any over reduction. Josh Hazelwood was named the Man of the Match for his fine bowling spell.
Earlier Sri Lanka invited to bat first made a good start by openers Pathum Nissanka and Dhanushka Gunathileka while the pair added 39 runs in just 4.2 overs. Gunatilleke was more aggressive scoring 26 in just 15 balls with 3 fours and a six finally caught by Mitchell Marsh off the bowling of Josh Hazelwood while Nissanka scored 36 in 31 balls with 3 fours and a six playing a good supporting role.
Sri Lanka made a good start scoring 50 for one wicket after power play (six overs) while number three batter Charith Asalanka and Nissanka put on the best partnership of 61 runs for the second wicket saw 79 for 1 wicket after half way of the innings.
However the 14th over bowled by paceman Josh Hazelwood took three quick wickets, Kusal Mendis for 1 run in 5 balls while hard hitting stroke maker Bhanuka Rajapaksa was out in first ball for duck and skipper Dasun Shanaka also out for a duck facing two deliveries as Australians came back strongly to the game. In fact Mendis was played a rash stroke to dismiss for one run and Rajapaksa’s dismissal (caught by wicket keeper Matthew Wade) were the turning point of the Sri Lanka innings.
Asalanka the 23-year-old left hander came to this game after recovering his injury played a superb innings finally unfortunately run out for 38 in 34 balls with 3 fours and a six. His school mate Wanindu Hasaranga scored 17 in 15 balls with 2 fours. Sri Lankan low order batsmen were struggling and restricted to 128 with three balls to spare.
Two Australian paceman Mitchell Starc 3 for 26 in his four over spell and Josh Hazelwood 4 for 16 in his four over spell shared seven wickets among them took bowling honours for Australian team. Sri Lanka at one stage were heading for over 175 runs but Australians used their experience to get wickets at regular intervals to skittle out home side.
When Sri Lanka reached 118 for 6 wickets in 16 overs rain interrupted the game but eight minutes later game once again resumed. The full pack of spectators were entertained by the two teams at this game.
Earlier Sri Lanka have made five changes from the last side they put out against India in last February while Australia have made nine changes from the team that beat Pakistan in their last T20 in Lahore in April. But there are only two missing from the T20 World Cup winning side. Pat Cummins is resting at home for the T20I series and will be in Sri Lanka for the ODIs. Adam Zampa the key leg spinner is on paternity leave for the whole tour.
Sri Lanka named two key spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana while paceman Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Thushara who has Lasith Malinga’s action were included for the first T-20 game yesterday.
The second T 20 game between the two sides will be played today (8)at the same venue under lights commence from 7pm.