Australia squeezed their way back to take a 2-1 lead in the five match ODI series beating Sri Lanka by two wickets in the third game at the Dambulla International Cricket Stadium on Sunday night.
The match drew a sell-out crowd who witnessed a day-night contest at the venue after a lapse of six years as Australia chased down a 227-run target thanks to a top score of 70 by George Bailey who kept his team in the hunt after they lost the first three wickets for 44 runs.
Australia’s stand-in skipper David Warner made some crucial bowling changes that paid off as he read the match situation well keeping the proceedings under control and taking wickets at regular intervals as Sri Lanka crashed all out for 226.
Sri Lanka winning the toss and batting first could only depend on Dinesh Chandimal to hold the innings together as he stood up to the occasion inching his way to a painstaking century (102) as Australian paceman Mitchell Starc continued to be the home team’s main hurdle.
Starc struck when it mattered after taking a wicket in his first over for the third time in a row to ensure Sri Lanka did not run-off to a rousing start.
Australia’s faith in budding leg spinner Adam Zampa ahead of the experienced Nathan Lyon also proved extremely productive as he bowled intelligently keeping the batsmen guessing all the time with a variety of balls to be rewarded with a haul of three wickets including the scalp of veteran Sri Lankan batsman Tillekeratne Dilshan who was dismissed for 42 playing in his farewell match.
Sri Lanka 226 in 49.2 overs (Tillekaratne Dilshan 42, Dinesh Chandimal 102, Adam Zampa 3 for 38, Mitchell Starc 2 for 42, John Hastings 2 for 41, James Faulkner 2 for 44)
Australia 227 for 8 in 46 overs (Aaron Finch 30, Travis Head 36, Matthew Wade 42, George Bailey 70, Dilruwan Perera 2 for 45, Amila Aponso 3 for 44, Angelo Mathews 2 for 30)