Sri Lanka win final T20
End the Australian dominance in the series with a five-wicket win
MELBOURNE: Dasun Shanaka and Kusal Mendis shine in a 5-wicket triumph for the visitors in the final contest to end the Australian dominance in the five-match T20I series at the MCG.
Aaron Finch elected to bat first against Sri Lanka in the fifth and final T20I at the MCG with the hopes of completing a whitewash. The hosts came into the final T20I unchanged, but they ditched their idea of sending Ashton Agar to open, with Ben McDermott and the Australian captain returned at the top of the order.
Sri Lanka made two changes to their lineup in search of their first victory. Due to the absence of top all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and fast Binura Fernando, Sri Lanka gave debuts to opener Kamil Mishara and all-rounder Janith Liyanage.
Australia win T20 series 4-1
Finch and McDermott both failed to get the hosts off to a positive start. In the Powerplay, both openers struggled to score, and while aiming for a boundary, Finch moved down the wicket and attacked Dushmantha Chameera, but the mid-on fielder sprinted back and took a great catch to dismiss him for 8.
McDermott followed Finch to the pavilion after top-edging one into the hands of point in the next over. Josh Inglis and Glenn Maxwell, who impressed in Australia's six-wicket victory in the fourth T20I, helped to steady the ship – but a bouncer from Chameera broke the partnership and removed Inglis for 23.
When Lahiru Kumara was reintroduced into the attack in the 13th over, the Australians were in big trouble. In the same over, he dismissed Marcus Stoinis (17 off 10) and Glenn Maxwell (29 off 21), putting Sri Lanka in command. However, some excellent batting from Matthew Wade enabled Australia post a competitive score of 154/6 in 20 overs. Matthew Wade's 27-ball 43* proved decisive as Australia scored 58 runs in the final five overs.
With Kusal Mendis and Pathum Nissanka at the crease, the Sri Lankans began their run chase. The openers got off to a good start, but Kane Richardson got Nissanka out in his first over (13 off 8). The debutant Kamil Mishara who came out to bat at number three found himself unlucky to get run out on 1. Charith Asalanka showed some character with his 9-ball 20, but his bad shot selection off Agar's first delivery sent him back to the pavilion.
Janith Liyanage, another youngster, joined Mendis in the middle, but the rookie's anxiousness combined with the hitters' lack of communication resulted in another run-out. Liyanage was run out on 8 after failing to complete a double. Australia was able to get back into the game thanks to three quick wickets, including two run-outs. Mendis's (69* off 58) and captain Dasun Shanaka's (35 off 31) solid innings, though, enabled Sri Lanka to claw their way back into the contest and take the match to the wire.
With 9 runs needed off the last over, Richardson only let up two runs in his first two deliveries, but Shanaka hit a six off the third ball to tie the game. The drama, however, did not finish there, as Shanaka was bowled on the following delivery. Richardson left the field owing to pain with two balls to go and one run to win for Sri Lanka, leaving Daniel Sams to bowl the final two deliveries. Chamika Karunaratne hit the winning runs, allowing Sri Lanka to win their first T20I of the series by 5 wickets.
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency