Well, what a chase by Sri Lanka – their highest vs Australia and the 4th highest chase by any team in Sri Lanka! A six-wicket win in the end, one set up by a maiden ODI ton by Pathum Nissanka, whose 147-ball 137 is also the highest by a Sri Lankan batter against Australia. Aiding him along the way was Kusal Mendis, who is slowly but surely returning to the form that made him such an exciting talent when he broke through. Mendis would be forced to retire hurt with a hamstring-related injury on an 85-ball 87, but before that he and Nissanka had put on 170 for the second wicket – the third-highest second-wicket partnership by a Sri Lankan pair in an ODI chase.
At the halfway mark though, with a target of 292 – a record chase at the Khettarama – not even the most optimistic observer would have predicted such a comfortable victory for the hosts. The Aussie innings was put together through a series of cameos, around the steadying presence of Travis Head, with the likes of Finch, Carey, Labuschagne, and Maxwell all pitching in. But the pitch eased up under the lights, and the Aussie spinners struggled to find the same control their Sri Lankan counterparts had so brilliantly illustrated. Jeffrey Vandersay ended with match-best figures of 3 for 49, but the day will no doubt belong to Nissanka.
Pathum Nissanka, to no one’s surprise is Man of the Match:
“Yes I’m extremely happy with how I batted. The heat was definitely a problem for both teams, but we handled it. The pitch was a little slow at the start of the innings, but after it set a bit you could score runs on it.”
“There’s quite a bit of dew out here at the moment. The wicket seemed to get a little bit better [in the second innings] it wasn’t stopping as much on the surface. But credit to Sri Lanka, that was a great run chase. It was quite a clinical form, particularly Nissanka. That was a very classy inning, and we know the quality of the player he is. You could look back at a lot of decisions and wonder what was the right one. We still felt [going with the one legspinner] was the right one on this wicket with how slow it looked, and we thought it would continue to do that. But yeah, it played a bit better under lights. It’s a really good learning opportunity for them, to continue to try and bowl to some good players, particularly when there are only four fielders outside the ring – it can be hard to contain.”
“I knew that it was a record chasing this down. It was a very good performance by the two youngsters with the bat, Pathum and Kusal Mendis. I hope they will take the momentum into the next match as well. In the dressing room, we were talking about the tempo and awareness, and they delivered. I think there was a little bit of dew, and it made a difference when we were batting. The ball was coming nicely onto the bat. We didn’t expect that at the toss, so batting second made a huge difference to the game. It was 1992 the last time we beat Australia in a bilateral ODI series; there one of the best sides in the world and we hope we can take the next step. I think the combination we have is a good one. And lastly, I would like to thank the massive crowd that came to support us.”
Sri Lanka vs Australia Highlights today, Sunday 17-6-2022. 3rd ODI (D/N), Australia tour of Sri Lanka from R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
(Last five completed matches; most recent first)
Sri Lanka LLWLW
Aus won the toss and chose to bat first.
Sri Lanka team: Niroshan Dickwella, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (capt), Chamika Karunaratne, Dunith Wellalage, Dushmantha Chameera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana
Australia team: David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt), Mitchell Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Jhye Richardson, Matthew Kuhnemann, Josh Hazlewood
Head to Head In T20I’s: 58
Sri Lanka Won: 16
Australia Won: 41
Match Timings: 09:00 GMT | 14:30 Local
Umpires – Kumar Dharmasena, Lyndon Hannibal
TV Umpires – Raveendra Wimalasiri
Match Referee – Ranjan Madugalle
Reserve Umpire – Prageeth Rambukwella
Match number – ODI no. 4415