Warner can't make it Australia's day
David Warner’s unbeaten 90 proved in vain as Sri Lanka spoiled the party on Australia Day with a five-wicket win in the opening Twenty20 international of two in Sydney.
Warner was the only Australia batsman to get to grips with a slow drop-in pitch at the Olympic Stadium as the hosts laboured to 137 for three.
Sri Lanka wobbled in response, losing four wickets in five overs to be 69 for four in the 11th, but skipper Angelo Mathews contributed a match-winning innings of 35 not out, with Lahiru Thirimanne and Thisara Perera offering good support.
That Australia had any sort of total to defend was almost solely down to Warner, who demonstrated maturity in reining in his attacking instincts, yet still managed to operate at a strike-rate of 145.
Three sixes - two straight down the ground - aided Warner’s progress, while he survived a reprieve on 69 when Nuwan Kulasekara put down a chance at deep midwicket off Mathews.
Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga were the standout performers for Sri Lanka with the ball, combining for figures of 1-40 from eight overs.
The former had Aaron Finch caught at short cover for one via a leading edge in the second over.
Shaun Marsh was then run out by Tillakaratne Dilshan, having struggled for 17 balls on his return to the international fold, and George Bailey made just 11 before picking out the same fielder with an open-faced drive at Thisara Perera.
Warner, favouring the back foot, eventually found a willing ally in Adam Voges, who contributed 25 from 29 balls, but Sri Lanka were able to keep the run-rate in check.
The tourists made a flying start in reply, with Twenty20 debutant Kushal Perera demonstrating his ability to strike the ball cleanly and Dilshan collecting a maximum off Mitchell Starc with one of his trademark Dilscoops.
However, after being cut above the eye by a Ben Laughlin bouncer that sneaked between helmet and grille, Dilshan fell to Xavier Doherty when Laughlin ran back from point to take a fine diving catch.
Australia’s breakthrough sparked something of a collapse; Kushal Perera edged a cut through to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade off Glenn Maxwell in the next over.
Maxwell subsequently had Dinesh Chandimal caught at long-off for five and the vastly experienced Mahela Jayawardene was bowled by Doherty for eight.
Yet Mathews responded admirably to a tricky situation, steadying the ship alongside Thirimanne, whose 20 proved valuable, and then thumping Laughlin down the ground for six when the run-rate was threatening to spiral.
A tight over from Starc left 18 needed from 12 deliveries, but Mathews then hit another straight boundary off Laughlin and Thisara Perera stepped up to finish things in style with consecutive sixes.