Australia’s bowlers set up a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka to sweep the two-match Twenty20 International series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday (September 9) and, in the process, spoilt Tillakaratne Dilshan’s farewell party.
Australia, who won the first exchange by 85 runs in Pallekele after scoring a world record 263 for 3, rode on a 29-ball 66 from Glenn Maxwell, the hero of the first T20I, to chase down their 129-run target with 13 balls to spare even though there was a major wobble once Maxwell fell.
Earlier, James Faulkner (3-19) and Adam Zampa (3-16) were the main wicket-takers as Sri Lanka were restricted to 128 for 9 despite Dhananjaya de Silva’s fighting half-century after the hosts had opted to bat. De Silva, one of only two batsmen – Kusal Perera (22) being the other – to reach double figures, scored 62 in 50 balls, but his was a rearguard act in a poor performance.
Dilshan, who quit the 50-over format in the middle of the five-match series against Australia, which Sri Lanka lost 4-1, scored just one from three balls in his final international game but took two wickets to add some late drama to Australia’s chase.
Dilshan, a month short of 40, was given a standing ovation by a raucous home crowd as he ended his 17-year-long glittering career. However, the inventor of the Dilscoop did not have a chance to execute the stroke in his last time out in Sri Lanka’s colours.
“We all know Dilshan is a legend in the cricket world. He is a match-winner and a game-changer,” said Dinesh Chandimal, captaining Sri Lanka in Angelo Mathews’s absence, after the game. “He was my first one-day and Test captain, lucky to captain him in his last game. Thank you, Dilshan. My team and I wish you all the best for the future.”
Maxwell, fresh from his unbeaten 145 off 65 deliveries on Tuesday, once again turned the spotlight on himself after equalling an Australian record for the fastest T20 half-century, in 18 balls. Maxwell, who put on a 93-run opening stand with David Warner, was bowled by Seekkuge Prasanna after hitting seven fours and four sixes and putting Australia on the road to victory.
“The way he played in the last game and this game was phenomenal,” said Warner of his star, who received the Man of the Match and Man of the Series award. “It is a massive achievement for our one-day bots. The boys came here with high hopes and expectations for the No. 1 team in the world. Credit to the bowlers.”
Sachith Pathirana then struck twice in the tenth over of the innings to get Moises Henriques and Warner, who scored 25, trudging back to the pavilion. Faulkner’s run out in the very next over gave Sri Lanka a scent of a turnaround as Australia suddenly found it difficult to get the remaining runs. And Dilshan then trapped Usman Khawaja lbw with his offspin and got the wicket of Matthew Wade, who scored 14, in his very next over as Australia slipped from 93 for no loss to 120 for 6. Dilshan ended with 2 for 8 from two overs.
But Travis Head, who remained unbeaten on nine, hit the winning runs to help Australia finish the two-month long tour on a high after the visitors suffered their first series whitewash in the three-Test series.