Sri Lanka has pulled off an exciting consolation victory in the fifth and final match of its Twenty20 series against Australia in Melbourne on Sunday. Australia the current T-20 World Champions won the series 4-1 but most important factor is Sri Lanka ended the series with a win which always brought them good confidence before the forthcoming India series which will commence from next Thursday (24).
Actually Sri Lanka could have finished this series 2-3 as second T-20 played at Sydney ending with a tie finally decided with a super over and this game Sri Lanka almost win while one on field umpire decision of wide ball highly talk among cricket experts. There are so many positives during this T-20 match series which are always very important for the next T-20 World Cup in Australia next October.
Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka said Sri Lankan team played really well throughout the series. Actually when we come for the World Cup we ‘ll be really prepared. Kusal Mendis has been an outstanding player. We should keep on giving opportunities to the right players added Shanaka. Sri Lanka team packed with more youngsters and they got real exposure during this tournament.
Sri Lankan fast bowling strategy coach Lasith Malinga was very busy during this tournament and he always has been a big boost to the Sri Lankan fast bowlers. After the five match series Malinga said that it is nice to end the series with a win. “Well done boys I’ve really enjoyed working with Sri Lanka young crop of fast bowlers over the last three weeks. There’s so much natural talent and potential to work with them and all the best for the upcoming Indian series said Malinga. Lasith Malinga worked with Sri Lankan bowlers and they were always happy to work with Malinga and he has a very simple way to guide bowlers. Some times during the game Malinga was going around the ground to give his assistance to the players. He always gave some tips and encouraged them and always his motivation was very important for the Sri Lankan bowlers.
Sri Lankan bowlers improved during this series and strong Australia batting line up couldn’t able to get over 165 runs in any match of the tournament.
Their highest total 164 for 6 wickets in 20 overs which was the second game ended with a tie deciding super over. Especially Wanidu Hasaranga was able to play first two matches due to Covid 19 and paceman Binura Fernando was out after first game with same reason and that was big blow for the Sri Lankan bowling department However seamer Dushmantha Chameera was outstanding during this tournament very well adjust for the conditions and having highest wickets 7 for Sri Lanka side while paceman Lahiru Kumara made good come back with taking 4 wickets in last two matches. The mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana was always up to the expectations and his bowling during the power play more challenging for the Aussie top order batters. Theekshana took 5 wickets with 3 for 24 best figures.
Sri Lankan team bit worried about their top order batting failure. However opener Pathum Nissanaka was outstanding during this tournament scoring highest 184 in five matches with an average of 36.80 and his highest individual score of 73 while making the highest number of 19 boundaries during this tournament. The 23 year old right hander always played his game with more confidence under the Australian conditions and his maiden Australian tour gave a big boost to him. Kusal Mendis who played a match winning knock of 69 in the last game scoring 100 runs in three matches with an average of 50.00 while skipper Shanaka was overall fourth highest scorer with 116 runs.
However Dhanushka Gunathileka scored 27 runs in 4 matches, Charith Asalanka 64 runs in five matches and Dinesh Chandimal 71 runs in 4 matches were not up to expectations and that was the main reason to get top order failure in this series. This is the main issue to focus on in the next Indian series.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka is looking to make a good challenge against India in their three T-20 match series and the only inclusion for T-20 side is off spinner Ashian Daniel and off spinner Ramesh Mendis already on the injury list. The hard hitting stoke maker Bhanuka Rajapaksa was not consider for the selections as he did not pass the fitness test (skin folder test) once again to get a chance for the Indian series.