Sri Lanka finally turned up with the bat in the T20I series against Australia, but it still wasn’t enough as the hosts wrapped up a 3-0 clean sweep with a seven-wicket win in Melbourne.
Having been set a target of 143 to win in the third and final T20I, Australia completed the job with 14 deliveries to spare at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to leave Sri Lanka empty-handed.
David Warner was impressive with the bat once again with the left-hander’s marauding return to form among our talking points from the third T20I.
Perera fifty leads Sri Lanka’s improved batting display
Sri Lanka’s woes in the series have largely been down to their batting with the visitors putting up paltry totals of 99 and 117 in the two preceding T20Is. At the MCG on Friday, the visitors were made to bat first for the third time in the series and to their credit, managed to come up with a much improved display.
Although the openers fell cheaply inside the powerplay, Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando stabilised the innings with a 43-run stand for the third wicket. It was Perera who proved to be key for the Lankans with the left-hander finding his range towards the latter half of his knock.
He brought up a fluent half-century off 38 deliveries before he was eventually dismissed for 57 in the 17th over of the innings. It could have been a more challenging total for the visitors ultimately, but Perera failed to find much support from the other batsmen. Still, a total of 142-6 was a stark improvement for Sri Lanka compared to their listless showings earlier in the series.
Sri Lanka finish their 20 overs on 142/6.— ICC (@ICC) November 1, 2019
Kusal Perera top-scored with a 45-ball 57, while Pat Cummins was the pick of the bowlers with 2/23 from his four overs.
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Experienced pace attack reign Sri Lanka in
That Sri Lanka were restricted to a modest total despite Perera’s heroics was largely down to Australia’s formidable pace attack, which grabbed wickets at crucial intervals.
Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Kane Richardson grabbed two wickets apiece in a formidable showing while Australia’s two spinners kept things tight at the other end.
Cummins’ return to the T20I setup has worked wonders for Australia so far with the Test stalwart putting the brakes on Sri Lanka’s charge with the successive dismissals of Avishka Fernando and Perera.
Starc, meanwhile, looked extremely threatening whenever he had the ball and the pacer could have had more wickets to his column had Richardson not put down a sitter.
Warner continues incredible form
David Warner couldn’t buy a run to save his life in the Ashes series in England but the left-hander has looked a completely different beast on his return to Australia. Having registered his maiden T20I ton in the series opener and then backed it up with an unbeaten fifty in the second match, Warner looked in pristine touch once again as he made a run-chase of 143 look like a walk in the park.
The opening batsman went past the 2,000-run barrier in T20I cricket over the course of his innings of 57, becoming the sixth batsman overall and the first Australia to do so in the process.
It was also Warner’s third unbeaten knock in a row against the Lankans and it took his overall run-tally for the series to 217. Glenn Maxwell’s 211 runs had been the previous highest run-tally by any Aussie batsman in a bilateral T20 series and Warner eclipsed that record with his third straight 50-plus knock on the bounce.
His ominous form will be bad news for Pakistan who are up next for a three-match T20 series against Australia beginning on Sunday.
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