Twenty-four year old Charith Asalanka struck a run a ball 110 for his maiden ODI ton to give a whiff of the new generation team in Sri Lanka’s historic series clinching 4-run triumph over Australia in the decisive fourth ODI to go 3 up to the visitors 1 at the R. Premadasa International Stadium on Tuesday. Asalanka struck 11 boundaries and a six in a typical workmanlike knock having taken strike with Sri Lanka on a shaky 43 for 3.
The series triumph over Australia came after exactly three decades.
The down South discovery from Galle’s Richmond College joined the experienced Dhananjaya de Silva who set the tempo with some lusty blows as the duo fronted a fourth-wicket fight back adding 92 runs in even time. De Silva crossed the boundary on seven occasions as the Lankan 100 came up in the 22nd over, but when the right-hander looked threatening for a big score he was undone as Glen Maxwell held on to a blinding on drive at midwicket off Mitchell Marsh. But he had done enough to lift Sri Lanka to 135 for 4 after 26.2 overs.
Asalanka grew in stature having progressively worked himself in going on to scatter the Aussie attack. But Sri Lanka was to suffer two quick setbacks by the run outs of skipper Dasun Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne followed by last man Mahesh Theekshana. Shanaka just sacrificed his wicket by an undue hurry going for quick runs de spite a good 23 overs left.
However, Asalanka found good support from the 19-year old Dunith Wellalage who made 18 off
8 sent ahead of Wanindu Hasaranga with whom he proceeded to add 34 for the eighth wicket. Asalanka’s great knock ended when he was seventh out caught by Finch off Pat Cummins.
Hasaranga went on to make an unbeaten run a ball 21, and could well have guided Theekshana to hold his end where 15-plus runs in the death over could have proved crucial when Australia batted.
However, it did not go to that extreme with the Lankan attack cleaning up the Aussies for 254 on the stroke of 50 overs. Needing 19 in the final over bowled by Dasun Shanaka, it went down to the wire with Australia needing 5 off the final delivery faced by Josh Hazelwood. But the Lankan captain finally atoned for his suicidal run out when he lured the batsman to hole out to Asalanka whose match winning knock earned him the Player of the Match award.
Sri Lanka 258 (50 Overs) (Charith Asalanka 110, Dhananjaya de Silva 60, Wanindu Hasaranga n.o. 21, Dinuth Wellalage 18, Kusal Mendis 14, Pathum Nissanka 13, Mitchell Marsh 2/29, Pat Cummins 2/37, Matthew Kuhnemann 2/56, Glen Maxwell 1/49)
Australia 254 (50 Overs) (David Warner 99, Pat Cummins 35, Travis Head 27, Mitchell Marsh 26, Chamika Karunaratne 2/19, Dhananjaya de
Silva 2/39, Jeffrey Vandersay 2/40).