Australia chasing a revised target of 282 in 44 overs saw experienced batting all rounder Glenn Maxwell playing a fighting unbeaten knock of 80 runs in 51 balls steer them to record two wickets win(D/L method) over Sri Lanka in their first ODI game played at Pallekele International cricket stadium yesterday.
It was a superb innings by one of the fastest scores in the world. 33 year old Maxwell who came to the wicket at number seven batter hit six fours and six huge sixes to seal their victory with nine balls to spare and visitors took 1-0 lead at this five match series. Maxwell was named as Man of the Match for his heroic knock.
Sri Lanka scored 300 for 7 in 50 overs while Australia were 72 for 2 wickets at one stage when rain halted the game for 118 minutes and play resumed at 9.10 pm yesterday with revised target of 281 runs.Steve Smith the former skipper made a superb knock of 53 while skipper Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis 44 runs each build up their total to reach their target.The champion leg spinner Wanindu Hasaranga bowled really well with capturing his best ODI figures of 4 for 58 in his 9 over spell while debutant Dunith Wellalage finished with 2 for 49.
Earlier Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and decided to bat first to get advantage on this Pallekele wicket. The openers Dhanushka Gunathileka and Pathum Nissanka were well settle to build up the innings while they put on a superb partnership of 115 runs in 19.4 overs. Australian bowlers were under pressure at this stage and Sri Lanka were heading for a big total.
Dhanushka Gunathileka the left hander was more aggressive scoring 53 in 55 balls with 7 fours unfortunately run out at the 20th over to be the first breakthrough and Nissanka was out 56 in 68 balls with 7 fours and a six while Ashton Agar took his wicket at the 22nd over.
Kusal Mendis and Dhanajaya de Silva tried to repair the innings for the third wicket but David Warner took a one handed catch at mid on to dismiss Dhananjaya de Silva at the 26th over and de Silva was out for 7 runs.
Kusal Mendis was the most successful batter of Sri Lanka team produced a superb batting display to build up Sri Lanka innings. Mendis used his power to make shots all over the ground making an unbeaten 86 in 87 balls with 8 fours and a six while he put on a fighting eighth wicket stand with Wanindu Hasaranga who made a brisk knock of 37 in 19 balls finally out for last ball of the innings which bowled by Josh Hazelwood.
Earlier Mendis also made a 77 runs fourth wicket stand with Charith Asalanka who scored 37 in 42 balls with 4 fours. The 28-year-old leg spinner Ashton Agar was the successful bowler taking 2 for 49 in his ten over spell while part time leg spinner Marnus Labuschagne bowled only 3 overs taking 2 for 19 including skipper Dasun Shanaka’ s wicket (6 runs in 7 balls).
Sri Lanka used three spinners Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana and debutant 19-year-old Dunith Wellalage for this game. In fact team management had a plan to add either Wellalage or the experienced Jeffrey Vandasay (both leg spinners) for this game but last minute they made a decision to give chance for Wellalage. All rounder Dhananjaya de Silva was named for the team while hard hitting stroke maker Bhanuka Rajapaksa couldn’t find the place yesterday with his poor form in the T 20 series.
Australia was named Pat Cummins the experienced paceman who is the red ball team skipper while prolific batter Marnus Labuschagne who came from England after playing County cricket and wicket keeper Alex Carey for their eleven. Carey was named Asustralia ‘A’ for the first ODI against Sri Lanka’A’ team.
The two sides will be played their second ODI tomorrow (16) at the same venue Pallekele.