Sri Lanka scored a total of 258 runs in 49 overs on the basis of Aslanka’s century (110 runs in 106). On a deck that was assisting the spinners, the hosts then bowled 43 overs of spin in Australia and emerged victorious despite some brief hiccups in the last ball thriller.
The spinners took seven of Australia’s 10 wickets that day. It was Sri Lanka’s first ODI series win over Australia in 30 years.
Chasing a challenging target, David Warner sealed one end but lost several teammates. Aaron Finch, his opening partner, fell early, and was swiftly chased into the dugout by Mitchell Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne and Alex Carey.
Marsh (26), Labuschagne (14), and Carey (19) started well but failed to convert them and were dismissed at regular intervals. Warner, however, proved to be the biggest thorn in Sri Lanka and kept the scoreboard ticking, bringing up a scintillating half-century.
Despite Warner’s best efforts, the lack of support from the other end led to Australia’s downfall. Warner did well to complete his 19th ODI century, but was left heartbroken at the end of his innings as he was stumped for 99 off Dhananjaya de Silva.
The off-spinner played a major role in turning the match around as he also trapped Travis Head (27), just as the partnership between him and Warner was going on. Pat Cummins (35 off 43) was Australia’s last hope and kept the visitors in the game before being dismissed in the 48th over.
Australia needed 19 runs in the last over and had only one wicket in their hands. But Matthew Kuhnemann (15) stunned Sri Lanka by showing some improvement. The No. 10 batsman smashed Dasun Shanaka for a boundary on the second ball and then laps and lofting the Sri Lankan captain to bring the equation to five off one ball.
Although Shanaka held her nerves, used a slower ball and swung it back a length, Kuhnemann handed the catch to the fielder at cover to give Sri Lanka a memorable win.
Earlier, batting first, Sri Lanka had the worst start as Glenn Maxwell dismissed Niroshan Dickwella in the second over and then Kusal Mendis saw his stumps crumbling after a beautiful delivery from Pat Cummins. Mitchell Marsh also made an immediate impact, taking the crucial wicket of Patum Nissenka as the hosts found themselves on the back of 34/3.
From there, Dhananjaya de Silva and Charit Aslanka stabilized the ship. After a quiet start, the pair took the lead, registering a partnership of 101 runs off just 100 balls. Dhananjaya de Silva finished relatively soon after reaching his half-century, but Aslanka went on to make it big.
The Asalanka continued to fight hard for Lankan interests, recording some important partnerships with Dunith Velalez and Wandindu Hasaranga. In the process, he also scored his first international century. Hasaranga (21 not out off 20) and Vellej (19 not out on 35) also played well as Sri Lanka posted 258 runs in 49 overs, which proved to be the winning scores in the end.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 258 in 49 overs (Charit Aslanka 110; Mitchell Marsh 2-29) beat Australia 254 in 50 overs (David Warner 99; Chamika Karunaratne 2-19, Dhananjaya de Silva 2-39) by four runs.
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