Create
Notifications
Info
Fantasy
Live
Scorecard
176/5 (20)
177/6 (19.5)
SL won by 4 wickets
Player of the match: Dasun Shanaka
 
That's it from me, Rajarshi, and my co-commentator for today, Bala, as we draw curtains to our coverage of the T20I series between Sri Lanka and Australia. Both these sides will square off in a 5-match ODI series starting from Tuesday, and we will look forward to bring you coverage of the same. Plenty of international cricket tomorrow, 8 nations will be up against one another in different parts of the world, so brace yourselves for a cricket-full Sunday. Till then, from us, it's goodbye!
With the way the wicket behaved towards the death overs of the Australian innings, a target of 177 wasn't too tall an ask, but it would have needed the best from this potent Sri Lankan batting line-up. Most of their top-order batsmen got off to a good start, but ended up falling cheaply and at the wrong time. They were 98 for 5 at the 14th over, having lost their top-order barring their skipper, staring at another humbling defeat. But they still had their big hitters to come. Hasaranga hit a boundary, but he, too, holed out to Aaron Finch at cover. Sri Lanka needed 59 off the last 3 overs, and Josh Hazlewood, who had an economy rate of 1 in his first three overs, with two crucial wickets in them, prepared to bowl the 18th over of the innings.

That was when the Sri Lankan skipper decided to step up. With everything that has been going on in their country in the past few days, and their national men's cricket team having their back to the wall against Australia so far in this tour, the people of Sri Lanka desperately needed a heroic figure to shine and give them something to be euphoric about. Dasun Shanaka, with every hit of his in that Josh Hazlewood over, breathed fire and looked set to give his countrypeople exactly that. 22 came off the 18th - Shanaka pummelled two sixes over mid-wicket first, carved a low full toss to the cover fence, smashed Hazlewood over his head for another boundary before retaining strike for the penultimate over with the crowd at Pallekele vociferously behind him by then.

18 more came off the penultimate over; Shanaka cleared the long-on boundary first ball, Karunaratne found the fence at cover, and Shanaka muscled another boundary between mid-wicket and long-on. Despite the barrage of boundaries and sixes, 19 was still required off the last over, and Kane Richardson was assigned the task to bowl the same by Aaron Finch. One could tell that he was feeling the heat; two wide yorkers from him ended up crossing the tramline in the first two deliveries. Richardson got the next two right, the equation came down to 15 off 4, and then, Dasun Shanaka brought out his best for the last.

Kane Richardson stuck to his wide yorker ploy, but Shanaka had his number by then. He hit the next couple of balls to the fence; managing to find the boundary at point first and then smashing a length ball hard enough to beat the long-off fielder. The pressure got to Richardson; he tried attacking the stumps and ended up bowling a full toss. The ball landed on the covers under the sightscreen to sent the crowd and the Sri Lankan dugout into an absolute frenzy. With the scores tied off the last ball of the match, Richardson ended up bowling yet another wide past the tramline, and Sri Lanka were home!
Aaron Finch, Australia captain: I think we've got a lot of bases covered...in our squad and our extended squad as well. So, we feel really comfortable with our games...and that was an unbelievable knock by Dasun to get Sri Lanka home. We thought that batting first was the right for our play. We saw how it (the wicket) slowed up a bit towards the back-end of our innings, but all-in-all, I don't think it made too much of a difference whether you batted or bowled first on this wicket. (On asked if he is happy with the squad depth) yeah, absolutely, we've over the last 12 months that we haven't had a full quota of players to pick from in certain times, so we had to mix and match and we've had some really good results as well. So we're really comfortable with the depth of the team.
Dasun Shanaka (SL captain and player of the match): The initial decision when I came into the wicket was to get in. I played the first few balls at 50 strike rate. Read the wicket really well. Kept my wicket rather than throw it away. Toss is always important when you play in Sri Lanka. They took that good decision. it was the change in the game. It wasn't the greatest idea to bat first. Before the game I talked to the boys about taking momentum from this series into the ODIs. In the last few seasons, few runs came from my bat but it wasn't good enough for the media (laughs).
A FIGHTBACK OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!!! DASUN SHANAKA, WHAT AN INNINGS THIS WAS! Sri Lanka were down for the count, a clean sweep was looming large for Australia, but the Sri Lanka skipper believed. The odds were stacked against him, but he was hell-bent on getting the job done today! He first took on Hazlewood, Australia's best bowler of the day, 22 came off it, but there was still a lot to do. A great penultimate over followed, 18 came off it, and 19 was left to get off the final over, which was to be bowled by Kane Richardson. 

Kane was already under pressure, having gone for 26 in his two overs, and he crumbled! What makes this finish even more special is that Shanaka didn't depend entirely on muscle power, he picked the slot balls to send over the ropes and hit the good balls right through the gaps! Whatever the Australians threw at him, wide yorkers, hard length, he found ways to dispatch them to the boundary!
20.0
19.6 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, misses his mark! That will do. The crowd erupts in joy! The Sri Lankan team needed this victory. The Sri Lankan nation needed a win to cheer for. And it's none other than their skipper who delivers it for them. You just cannot write a better script, can you? Dasun Shanaka, take a bow!
19.5 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, SIX! My word! Unbelievable scenes at Pallekelle. That's FIFTY for Shanaka and the scores are level! Low full toss outside off. He gets under it and launches it into the sightscreen. This is right out of the fairytales. Just a single required now
19.4 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, FOUR! Beats the fielder at long-off! The crowd is on its feet! Slower ball on a length, plenty of time to pick his spot. Shanaka stands his ground and slaps it back over the bowler's head. 7 runs required off 2 balls
19.3 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, FOUR! Misses his length and gets punished! Full ball wide of off. Shanaka carves it over backward point and finds the boundary. 11 runs required off 3 balls
19.2 Kane Richardson to Chamika Karunaratne, slower ball short of a length. Karunaratne swings and misses but Shanaka calls him through to steal a single
19.1 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, slower ball on a length wide of off. Smears it through covers to the man sweeping the fence
19.1 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, goes wide once again. Richardson is under a lot of pressure now
19.1 Kane Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, slower ball wide of the off-stump. Clearly past the tramline this time
Kane Richardson (2-0-26-0) is back into the attack
19 needed off the final over! Dasun Shanaka, the man of the moment, has the strike! It'll be Kane Richardson to bowl the final over, he has gone for a lot today, can he keep his nerves and deliver for Australia?
19
overs
158 /6 score
6
1
4
1
4
1w
1
runs
cricket bat icon Dasun Shanaka *
39 (21)
cricket bat icon Chamika Karunaratne
14 (9)
cricket ball icon Jhye Richardson
1 /46
18.6 Jhye Richardson to Dasun Shanaka, full and straight on the off-stump. Drills it down to long-off for one. 19 required off the final over!