A steady bowling effort backed by some clinical top-order batting helped Australia ease past Sri Lanka and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
After opting to bat first, Sri Lanka were unable to string together any decent partnership and lost wickets at regular intervals. They were eventually bowled out cheaply for the second game in a row and could muster just the 117 runs in 19 overs.
Despite losing Aaron Finch early, the returning duo of Steve Smith and David Warner made short work of the chase as Australia chased down the target with as many as seven overs to spare.
Poor decision making from Sri Lankan top order
Conceding 233 in the first T20I prompted Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga to bat first at the Gabba, in the hope that his batsmen would be able to play with more freedom. That didn’t turn out to be the case with Sri Lanka’s batsmen losing their way completely after being given the licence to attack.
The innings began with a mix up between the openers that resulted in the run-out of Kusal Mendis, as his partner Danushka Gunathilaka remained rooted to the crease after calling for a quick single.
The rest of the top-order failed to apply themselves and attempted too many risky strokes to their own peril. Gunathilaka’s off-bail was disturbed when he missed a length delivery from Billy Stanlake, attempting an almighty swing down the ground. Avishka Fernando followed suit, holing out to long on. Kusal Perera was the best batsman for the visitors but he couldn’t carry on to make a big score and was castled by an arm-ball from Ashton Agar for 27.
Sri Lanka were reduced to 75/5 by the eleventh over and the lower order couldn’t offer any worthy resistance.
The Smith and Warner show
The return of Steve Smith and David Warner to the Australian T20I squad bodes well for them with the World Cup at home next year. Warner followed his terrific unbeaten century in the first match with a crisp fifty while Smith marked his first T20I innings since 2016 with a classy half-century.
The duo hardly mistimed a shot as they toyed around with the hapless opposition bowling. Once the pacers were driven out of the attack, it was the turn of the spinners to face their fury. Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga was greeted with four boundaries by Warner in his opening over while Lakshan Sandakan didn’t escape punishment either, finishing with an economy rate of nine runs per over.
The left-handed Warner reached his 15th fifty in the format by the tenth over and his partner brought up his personal milestone in the subsequent over.
Australia raced to 58/1 in the powerplay and knocked off the remaining fifty runs in the next seven overs.
The final game of the series will be played at Melbourne on Friday. Following that, Australia host Pakistan in a three-match T20I series that begins on Sunday. For Sri Lanka, that would be the last international game of the calendar year before they tour India in January, 2020.
Sri Lanka: 117 all out (Kusal Perera 27, Adam Zampa 2-20, Billy Stanlake 2-23)
Australia: 118/1 in 13 overs (David Warner 60*, Steve Smith 53*)
Player of the Match: David Warner
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