Spirited Sri Lanka level series

Chamika Karunaratne and the rest of Sri Lanka’s bowlers struck at regular intervals to power the home side to a series-levelling 26-run win against Australia in the second ODI. The visitors could only muster 189 in pursuit of a rain-revised target of 216.

After play resumed, Australia started on an aggressive note with David Warner thwacking three boundaries off Maheesh Theekshana. He also pulled Dushmantha Chameera to the boundary hoardings. Just when Australia seemed to be edging ahead in the game, Dhananjaya de Silva won an LBW decision against Aaron Finch. The Australian skipper took the review but to no avail. Theekshana could have also picked up a wicket but Sri Lanka didn’t opt for a review for an LBW appeal against Warner. The ball-tracker later projected the ball would have crashed into the middle-stump.

De Silva, though, ensured the missed review wouldn’t prove to be costly as he castled Warner with the one that stayed a tad low. Steven Smith, who came out to bat at No.3, looked in fine touch, employing lofted shots against the spinners. However, Karunaratne dislodged Smith as Australia slid to 93 for 3. Dunith Wellalage then dented Australia further by dismissing both Travis Head and Marnus Labschagne.

At that stage, Glenn Maxwell once again raised hopes of charting a memorable win by collecting three boundaries off Wellalage. Just in the nick of time, Karunaratne picked up the prized scalp of Maxwell with a well-directed short ball. Chameera and Karunaratne then combined to run through the lower order and provide the finishing touches.

Earlier, Australia’s trio of Pat Cummins, Maxwell and the debutant Matthew Kuhnemann had shared eight spoils between them as Sri Lanka were restricted to 220 for 9 in 47.4 overs. At the fag end of the home side’s innings, play was stopped due to rain. Eventually, the rain relented but the target was revised.

After being inserted into bat, Sri Lanka lost their openers in quick succession, with Kuhnemann and Cummins taking a scalp each. Sri Lanka’s mainstay in the first ODI, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva resurrected the innings with a timely stand of 61. Cummins could have broken the stand but Travis Head spilled a catch to give Dhananjaya a reprieve.

Cummins, though, was rewarded for his persistence when he dislodged Dhananjaya with the slower short ball. Chamika Karunaratne (18) and Dunith Wellalage (20) also chipped in with useful scores down the order to take the side past the 200-run mark, a score that proved to be enough in the end.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka220/9 in 47.4 overs (Kusal Mendis 36; Pat Cummins 4-35) beat Australia 189 in 37.1 overs (Davi Warner 37; Chamika Karunaratne 3-47) by 26 runs via DLS Method

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