Opening batsman Pathum Nissanka ran riot hammering a magical career best 137 off 147 balls and Kusal Mendis 87 as Sri Lanka thrashed Australia by six wickets chasing 291to mount a most spectacular ODI triumph in recent times in the the third fixture to take a 2-1 lead at the R. Premadasa International Stadium last night.
Nissanka, who broke out into international cricket with a debut Test century, unleashed the innings of his life in the short format plundering the Australian attack to the tune of 11 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Nissanka found solid support from Mendis as the second-wicket pair that came together at the fall of of the first wicket at 40, were associated in a record 170-run stand after Australia,.taking first lease,.had totalled 291 for 6 in 50 overs in reviving a flagging ODI image. As the 23-year old Nissanka and Mendis reached their element collaring the Aussie attack to the roars of a packed capacity home crowd, the hurrah win marked a significant turnaround in Sri Lanka’s ODI fortunes.
Kusal Mendis eventually retired hurt from a blow he took in his run a ball knock laced with 8 hits to the ropes, and could consider himself unlucky to have missed out on a deserving beckoning ton in what has been a remarkable comeback on scores of 86 in the opener and a top score of 36 that proved decisive in drawing level in the next. Moreover, the Nissanka-Mendis effort marked a long quest to reclaiming lost prestige when Sri Lanka basked in the summit of one-day cricket i winning the world championship in ,1996 ironically, at the expense of Australia.
An injury hit Australia mainly depleted minus strike bowler Mitchell Starc and star batsman Steve Smith, overcame a threatening four-pronged spin attack that had reduced the touring team to 4 for 121 after 26 overs when a 3-wicket up Jeffrey Vandersay and 19-year old fresher Dunith Wellalage with 2 wickets reigned. Following the dismissals of skipper Aaron Finch for an 85-ball 62 inclusive of 4 boundaries and a six and Glen Maxwell for 33 off 18 with 3 boundaries and a six, both taken out by Vandersay, Travis Head, who had played a sedate second fiddle role, opened out to finish on an unbeaten 70 off 65 inclusive of 3 over the top and crossing the boundary an equal number of times.
Head figured in a fifth-wicket partnership of 72 off 80, and unfinished 58-run seventh-wicket stand off 28 with Wellalage and Chameera taking some stick.
CHIEF SCORES: Australia 291/6 (50) Overs (Travis Head n.o. 70,.Aaron, Finch 62, Alex Carey 40, Glen Maxwell 33, Marcus Labuschagne 29, Cameron Green n.o. 15, Jeffrey Vandersay 3/49, Dhananjaya de Silva 1/35, Dinuth Wellalage 1/56, Dushmantha Chameera 1/49)
Sri Lanka 292/4 (48.3 Overs) (Pathum Nissanka 137, Kusal Mendis 87, Niroshan Dickwella 25, Dhananjaya de Silva 25).