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Australia lose final five wickets in three overs as Sri Lanka level one-day series

Sri Lanka produced a series-leveling victory in the second One Day International when they beat Australia by 26 runs (D/L system) at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Australia chasing a revised target of 216 in 44 overs only managed to get 189 in 37.1 overs.

Australia’s suffered their worst five-wicket collapse in an ODI chase. The final collapse was 5 for 19. Sri Lankan spinners Dhananjaya de Silva off-spinner and young leg-spinner Dunith Wellalage started with two wickets each while Chamika Karunaratne who bowled a superb spell finishing with figures of 3 for 47 was adjudged the Man of the Match and was well supported by experienced Dushmantha Chameera who took 2 for 19 to win the game.

Earlier, Australia won the toss and invited Sri Lanka to bat first and their plan was very clear to make an early breakthrough on the Pallekele wicket. The openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka could not provide a good start as Josh Hazelwood started with a maiden over.

In the sixth over, bowled by debutant leg spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, Nissanka was first to depart with 14 runs in 17 balls including 3 fours. Wicket-keeper Alex Carey took the catch to dismiss Nissanka to give Kuhnemann his maiden ODI wicket.

Gunathilaka also could not make much headway as experienced paceman Pat Cummins took his first wicket to dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka when the total at 35 in the 9th over.

After the first power play, Sri Lanka were 43 for 2 wickets.

Kusal Mendis top scored with 36 in 41 balls (2 sixes and a four) while Dhananjaya de Silva hit 34 in 41 balls with 2 fours and a six were involved in a 61-run third-wicket partnership which was the highest of the innings. Mendis who was the most successful batter in previous ODI tried to attempt a sweep shot and gave a return catch to off-spinner Glenn Maxwell.

Dhananjaya de Silva, the all rounder gave good support to Mendis but was unfortunately out for 34 while wicket keeper Carey taking a brilliant one-handed catch off the bowling of Pat Cummins.

The in-form batter Charith Asalanka did not stay long scoring only 13 in 27 balls while Skipper Dasun Shanaka came to the middle at the most crucial stage producing some good shots but leg spinner Mitchell Swepson who played his third ODI struck to dismiss Shanaka who scored a brisk knock of 34 in 36 balls with 5 fours while 19-year-old Dunith Wellalage who played his first One-Dayer innings yesterday made a valuable 20 runs in 35 balls with a four and a six was finally bowled by Cummins who finished with best figures of 4 35 in his 8.3-over spell.

Sri Lankan middle-order once again collapsed and Dushmantha Chameera (7) and Maheesh Theekshana (11) were at the wicket when rain halted the game when Sri Lanka were 220 for 9 wickets in 47.4 overs. When the game resumed after rain, Australia had to get a revised total of 216 in 43 overs according to the D/L system.

Sri Lanka made one change with Jeffrey Vandersay coming in for Hasaranga. Karunaratne was moved up to No.7 while Hasaranga is doubtful to play in the remaining three matches of the series due to injury.

Meanwhile, Australia made three changes. Travis Head, Swepson, and Kuhnemann came in for Stoinis, Ashton Agar, and Jhye Richardson. Australia opted for two specialist spinners in Swepson and Kuhnemann.

But Swepson had played only two ODIs and Kuhnemann was on debut.

Both Head and Kuhnemann came from Hambantota to play in this game as they were playing against Sri Lanka ‘A’ team.

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