Hosts Sri Lanka taking the dominating Australians by the scuff of the neck to coming even 1-all in the second ODI at Pallekelle brings the two sides head on in what will be a decisive face off to the 5-match series away from the cool hill climes in the third day-night at Colombo’s R. Premadasa International Stadium on Sunday. By that 26-run triumph indeed, Dasun Shanaka led his team admirably to evening things.
The key to the Lankans coming on top was the bowling coming good with the Aussie top rung of Glen Maxwell and Steve Smith undone mainly by the guile of Chamika Karunaratne’s varied medium pace. While Karunaratne accounted took three in all including the wicket of Alex Carey, the slow stuff of Dhananjaya de Silva and teenager Dunith Wellalage accounted for four wickets. That the Aussies were vulnerable on a slow track was more or less echoed by their skipper Aaron Finch post match that they were undone by the slow conditions.
Meanwhile, the Steadying influence of all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva rallied the Lankan batting from the early hiccup of 43 for 2 by his half century stand with Kusal Mendis who has as much lent weight to the batting. Dhananjaya’s 34 was leveraging coupled by Mendis’ 41-ball top score of 36. It was a paying effort for the wicket-keeper batsman in the wake of his 86 in the opening game that was denied the desired fulfilment by Glen Maxwell’s swashbuckling 80.
Skipper Dasun Shanaka’s 34 off 36 bolstered the innings to 227 for 9 off 47.4 overs. It was again signified the growing influence that the captain has brought to the batting department as his batting has begun to blossom following Shanaka’s record match winning unbeaten 14-ball 54 in the final T20 versus the Aussies. In that vein, Shanaka’s weight to the batting could well be the swaying factor in today’s decisive contest that the two sides would be vying to go 2-up in the series.