MELBOURNE: With another all-round, comprehensive display, Australia eased to a seven-wicket win in the final T20I against Sri Lanka to complete a 3-0 sweep in Melbourne on Friday.
Sri Lanka put up a better performance than they managed in the first two T20Is. Kusal Perera scored a half-century, and put on 43 with Avishka Fernando to provide impetus to the innings, although a collapse later on meant Sri Lanka were restricted to 142/6 in 20 overs. Australia’s chase was set up when David Warner and Aaron Finch put on 69 for the opening wicket. Warner went on to score a 50-ball 57* to see the chase through, as Australia sealed victory with 14 balls to spare.
Asked to bat, Sri Lanka had a tough start when Niroshan Dickwella was dismissed for a golden duck by Mitchell Starc, but the Kusals, Mendis and Perera, put on 30 for the second wicket to revive the innings. The stand was broken when Mendis fell in the fifth over, but Fernando joined Perera, and the two oversaw perhaps Sri Lanka’s best period in the match with their partnership.
The total was boosted 33/2 to 76/2, but Fernando was then dismissed by Pat Cummins – the batsman sent one straight to deep backward square – and Sri Lanka’s innings lost its bite. The wickets then kept coming, although there were a couple of decent partnerships. Perera added 23 foar the fourth with Oshada Fernando, and later on, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Shehan Jayasuriya put on 22 for the sixth wicket.
Australia’s command of the chase only briefly wavered. They started it off in typically boisterous fashion, with Aaron Finch and David Warner putting on 69 for the opening wicket. It took nearly nine overs for Sri Lanka to break the partnership, and it came when Finch tried to clear long-on off Lahiru Kumara.