COLOMBO: Australia squeezed out a victory against Sri Lanka by three wickets in a low-scoring second T20I match as the host’s meager target of 125 runs proved insignificant for the bowlers to defend, enabling the touring to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, here on Wednesday
Australia derailed halfway through their chase as Sri Lanka’s leg-break sensation Hasaranga de Silva grabbed two back-to-back wickets in the 12th over, just to slow down the batters’ march to reach the target. The touring side achieved the target in the 18th over for the loss of seven wickets to clinch the victory.
Sri Lanka, in the first inning, failed to lay out an impressive show after Australia invited them to bat first. The all-rounder Charith Asalanka and wicket-keeper batter Kusal Mendis braced the team after a shaky start, as the hosts lost two wickets early on.
The pair made a firm partnership of 66 runs before Asalanka fell prey to Glenn Maxwell in the 12th over on a total of 73 runs. Asalnka remained the top scorer for the team with his 39 runs off 33 balls, laced with two fours and two sixes. Sri Lankan camp underwent a panic mode after the blow as the team started to lose wickets at regular intervals.
The touring side was able to restrict the team to 124 as the right-arm pacer Kane Richardson stormed through the Sri Lankan lower order, grabbing four wickets in the death overs.
Australia, on the other hand, took full advantage of powerplay overs as the team reached 50 runs milestone in the fifth over. However, the Sri Lankan bowlers squeezed out wickets at regular intervals as Hasaranga remained the top wicket-taker for his side as he grabbed four crucial wickets
Mathew Wade was awarded “Man of the Match for his crucial and match-winning knock of 26 off 26 balls as he remained unbeaten to take his side home.