By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka Women’s Team Captain Chamari Atapattu played what was the second knock of her life against Australia – an epoch 66-ball 113 in a sixes (6) –boundary (12) filled knock against a stronger host side which won by 41 runs in a high scoring opening T20 International of the 3-match series at the North Sydney Oval on Sunday. Sri Lanka’s fate was sealed by an equally compelling 61-ball 113 by Beth Mooney.
But the day belonged to the Sri Lankan for her rollicking knock against all the odds in a virtual one-woman show with the rest of the Sri Lankan batting so badly crumbling with the next best score of 16 by Hansima Karunaratne. The Lankans batting disparity was best reflected by only two others reaching double figures, the other being Nilakshi de Silva’s 10.
Mooney’s Player of the Match century exploded by 20 boundaries lifted Australia to an impregnable 217 for 4 – their second-highest T20 international total following the 226 for 3 against England during the recent Ashes series. Mooney galloped her way adding 72 for the first wicket with Alyssa Healy (43) and 115 off 60 balls for the third wicket with Ash Gardner (49) on an enticing short boundary venue.
Sri Lanka was never in the run chase with only Atapattu making the difference with her cameo knock flaying the Australian attack all round the ground in what was Sri Lanka’s highest T20 total. Atapattu’s shot making in her maiden T20 ton was so devastating hammering the shot of the day with the ball hitting the roof of the stand over long-on in reaching three figures in sword edged style. Moreover, her blasting of the Australian bowling attack did raise concerns to the home team in the wake of what was the second century mauling handed out by the Sri Lankan captain in the wake of her record 178 when the two sides last met at the 2017 ODI World Cup. The Sri Lankan lasses won the hearts of spectators showcased by Chamari Atapattu’s single handed magnificence more so in view of their lack of international exposure in what was their first match in six months and just the solitary warm-up going into the opener.
Australia Women 217/4 (20 Overs) (Mooney 113, Gardner 49)
Sri Lanka Women 176/7 (20 Overs)(Atapattu 113, Wareham 2/19)