Glenn Maxwell unleashed his pinch hitting prowess in a 51-ball unbeaten 80 in a 6-sixes-4-boundaries spree to take Australia to a 2-wicket win to spoil hosts Sri Lanka’s 300-run party in the first of the 5-match ODI series on Tuesday night.
It was a bitter pill for the Lankans to swallow as Australia reached the rain reduced D/L revised target of 282 for 8 in 44 overs to win with 9 balls to spare after having got a maximum of 300 for 7 off 50.
The Lankans would be ruing their bowlers inability to check the Australians despite doing all the hard work to posting what is considered a defendable total in ODI cricket after having won the toss and opted to bat in the day-night opener at the Pallekelle International Stadium on Tuesday. Despite ace leggie Wanindu Hasaranga taking 4 for 58, Australia got home with Maxwell maximising his shot making to lift from 254 for 8 after 39.3 overs.
The Lankans could not have looked for a better platform than such a wholesale batting display – 115 for the first wicket between Pathum Nissanka 56 off 68 (6×4, 1×6) and Dhanushka Gunathilaka 55 off 53 (7×4) and 77 for the fourth wicket between Kusal Mendis who made an unbeaten 86 off 87 (8×4, 1,×6) and Charith Asalanka 37 off 42 (4×4) with Wanindu Hasaranga a cameo unbeaten 37 off 19 (6×4).
But a resolute Australians fought back gamely with Maxwell firing on all cylinders. Upfront, Steven Smith made 53 off 60 (5×4) and skipper Aaron Finch 44 off 41 (5×4, 1×6) and Marc us Stonis 44 off 31 (4×4, 2×6).
Debutant young Dunith Wellalage took 2 for 42 including his maiden wicket on debut that
of Steven Smith.
CHIEF SCORES: Sri Lanka 300/7 (50 Overs) (Kusal Mendis n.o. 86, Pathum Nissanka 56, Dhanushka Gunathilaka 55, Charith Asalanka 37, Wanindu Hasaranga 37, Manush Labuschagne 2/19. Ashen Aron 2/49).
Australia 282/8 (42 .3 Overs) (Glen Maxwell n.o. 80, Steve Smith 53, Aaron Finch 44, Marcus Stonis 44, Manush Labuschogne 24. Alex Carey 21, Wanindu Hasaranga 4/68. Dinuth Wellalage 2/42).
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Glenn Maxwell.