Prolifc David Warner guides Australia to 3-0 sweep

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Australia 3 for 145 (Warner 57*) beat Sri Lanka 6 for 142 (Perera 57) by seven wickets

David Warner and Steve Smith (AFP photo)

 

Sri Lanka were better, the crowd was bigger, but the result was the same. Australia’s experienced campaigners led by David Warner, Aaron Finch and Pat Cummins, were once again clinical in their home comforts to whitewash Sri Lanka 3-0.

They held Sri Lanka to a sub-par total of 6 for 142 before mowing it down with seven wickets and 14 balls to spare. The difference was Australia’s power-hitting, placement and brilliant running in the post powerplay phase on the big expanses of the MCG.

Sri Lanka failed to score a boundary for 39 balls after the powerplay in their innings. Finch and Warner scored fewer runs in the powerplay than their counterparts but scored 42 runs in the first four overs with five men out to put the chase to bed.

Warner was nowhere near as fluent as his previous two outings but made his third consecutive 50-plus score to secure the player of the match and series awards. In total he made 217 runs in the three games without being dismissed. Finch looked set to cut loose after reaching 37 off 25 before holing out in the deep.

Both men had some luck. Finch survived an lbw review in the second over off Lahiru Kumara where he was saved by a not out call from umpire Shawn Craig. Ball tracking had it clipping the bails and the umpire’s call remained. He was also dropped by Oshada Fernando at cover on 16.

Warner was dropped by Lasith Malinga on 12 at mid-off and was fortunate to survive on 42 when he tried to pull a length ball off Kumara that skidded into his stomach and dropped down onto the stumps but the bails somehow stayed on.

That luck was off-set a little when Ben McDermott was given lbw to Malinga. After a long discussion with Warner he opted not to review Paul Wilson’s decision only for ball tracking showed it was missing leg.

But Ashton Turner iced the game with calculated hitting and phenomenal running to finish 22 not out off 15 balls.

Sri Lanka provided a far better showing with the bat than they had in the first two games of the series on the back of a fine half-century from Kusal Perera followed by some strong late hitting from Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Malinga to put Australia’s bowlers under more late pressure than the previous match.

However, once again Sri Lanka’s powerplay batting was exposed. They tried their fourth different top four combination for the tour but the outcome looked staggeringly similar to the previous three with just four boundaries in the powerplay, two via top edges. They scored 2 for 41 from their six overs, to go with 2 for 36 in Brisbane, 3 for 29 in Adelaide and 2 for 40 against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra.

Perera and Avishka Fernando were forced to rebuild after the losses of Niroshan Dickwella, for a first-ball duck, and Kusal Mendis but they went 39 balls without a boundary, allowing Cummins, Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar to bowl without any pressure. Agar completed his four overs for just 24 runs without conceding a boundary.

Perera broke the boundary drought against Mitchell Starc and then got a huge slice of luck, spooning a catch to Kane Richardson at backward point only to see the sitter spilt. He then attacked Zampa to break the shackles with a skilful lofted reverse sweep. He reached his 11th T20I fifty and Sri Lanka’s first of the tour off just 38 balls before falling to Cummins for 57 but the momentum was carried forward by Rajapaksa.

After surprisingly being left out in Brisbane he tested Starc’s experience as a death bowler. Starc twice missed his length and line, straying into Rajapaksa’s pads to be flipped behind square for 10 runs in two balls.

Malinga promoted himself and smashed a short delivery over long-on first ball to help push the total past 140 but it was well short of what was needed. (ESPNCricinfo)