Tuesday, February 21, 2017

T20I: Asela"s half ton helps SL beat Oz in last-ball thriller

Asela Gunaratne of Sri Lanka en route his 52 vs Australia during a T20 tie at MCG in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP

Melbourne: Riding on middle order batsman Asela Gunaratne’s maiden half century, Sri Lanka beat Australia by five wickets in a thrilling first Twenty20 International cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.

With the win, the islanders have taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Chasing a modest 169, the visitors recovered from the early loss of skipper Upul Tharanga (0) as opener Niroshan Dickwella (30) and Dilshan Munaweera (44) put on 74 runs for the second wicket to set the tone.

Wickets of Dickwella and Munaweera had Lankan reeling at 91-3 midway into their innings. The 31-year-old Gunaratne was then joined by Milinda Siriwardana (15) in the middle and the duo added 60 runs for the fourth wicket to raise their hopes of a win.

Gunaratne perished in his hurry of finishing the game. Two balls later, Turner dismissed Siriwardana to derail the chase for the visitors.

Chamara Kapugedera (10 not out) and all-rounder Seekkuge Prasanna (8 not out) then kept their nerves to complete the formalities for the Lankans.

Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch (43) and Michael Klinger (38) powered Australia to 168-6. Lasith Malinga (2-29) once again emerged as the most successful bowler for the visitors.

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