Sri Lanka hold their nerve
Sri Lanka claimed a 2-0 Twenty20 international series win over Australia with a tense three-run victory on the Duckworth/Lewis method at the MCG.
Chasing a revised target of 122 due to a mid-innings rain delay, the hosts fell just short as Sri Lanka followed up Saturday’s five-wicket win at the SCG with another triumph.
Australia looked out of it, needing 34 off the last two overs and then 12 from the final three balls, but back-to-back fours over point from Glenn Maxwell left them requiring one more boundary off the final delivery from Thisara Perera to take victory.
However, after a lengthy discussion between Sri Lanka’s senior players, which did not go down well with Australia and led to heated conversations between the sides after the game, Maxwell missed the last ball and the tourists were able to celebrate.
Earlier, Sri Lanka had set a testing target after being sent in to bat with Mahela Jayawardene guiding them to 161 for four in front of an excitable bank holiday crowd featuring a large Sri Lankan contingent.
Jayawardene finished unbeaten on 61 from 45 deliveries while Perera clubbed a 15-ball 35 to add some late fireworks, a cameo that combined with his 1-25 from three overs led to the 23-year-old being named man of the match.
Australia lost openers David Warner, who scored an unbeaten 90 in the first game, and Aaron Finch cheaply in their reply but Shaun Marsh and George Bailey were building a steady recovery when a downpour saw the teams head off the pitch.
The hosts were 60 for two off 10 overs and when play resumed the revised target left them needing 62 off 30 balls. That proved to be just beyond them, although they came within one hit of victory after a late charge.
Captain Bailey went for 45 in the final over but Marsh, who was unbeaten on 47, was joined by Maxwell and the all-rounder almost snatched victory.
James Faulkner, who played today for Australia, has replaced the injured Moises Henriques in the squad for the first two one-day internationals with West Indies in Perth later this week.