Glenn Maxwell’s blistering century in Australia’s world record 263 for 3 powered the visitors to a comprehensive 85-run win over Sri Lanka in the first Twenty20 international in Pallekele on Tuesday (September 6).
Australia, who broke Sri Lanka’s nine-year record of 260 for 6 against Kenya in 2007, restricted the hosts to 178 for 9 in 20 overs to take the lead in the two-match series.
Maxwell, opening the batting for Australia in a T20I for the first time, destroyed the Sri Lankan bowling attack with his unbeaten 145 off 65 balls, which was laced with 14 fours and nine sixes, after the visitors were invited to bat first.
David Warner, the skipper, gave Australia a fiery start with 28 runs off 12 balls as he put on a 57-run opening partnership with Maxwell to lay a solid foundation.
Sachithra Senanayake, the offspinner, bowled Warner with a looping delivery that held its line to take the off-stump, but Sri Lanka’s joy was short-lived as Maxwell was just warming up at the other end.
The opener, who registered his maiden T20 century in his 35th game, found the perfect partner in Usman Khawaja, who scored 36 off 22 balls, as the duo put together 97 runs for the second wicket.
Sachith Pathirana, the debutant left-arm spinner, had Khawaja walking back to the pavilion, only to see Travis Head join forces with Maxwell.
Maxwell and Head, who scored an 18-ball 45, then put on 109 for the third wicket as it rained boundaries at a packed Pallekele International Stadium.
Maxwell fell 11 runs short of Aaron Finch’s top T20I score of 156 as he faced only one ball in the final over of the innings.
In reply, Sri Lanka were never in the chase after losing Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kusal Perera (4), the openers, in the first two overs of the innings.
Mitchell Starc, the pace spearhead, struck in his very first over to get Dilshan, who is set to retire from international cricket after the second T20I, bowled for four.
The pressure of scoring at over 13 runs an over proved just too much for an inexperienced Sri Lankan batting side as the Aussie bowlers kept picking wickets at regular intervals.
Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lankan captain, top-scored with 58, his fourth T20 half-century, before falling to Scott Boland.
Chamara Kapugedara also hit a 25-ball 43, studded with three fours and three sixes, to give some respectability to the Sri Lankan total.
Starc and Boland claimed three wickets each as James Faulkner, Moises Henriques and Adam Zampa took one each.
The action now shifts to Colombo for the final T20I on September 9.
Highest Twenty20 International totals
|263/3||20 overs||AUS vs SRI||Pallekele||2016|
|260/6||20 overs||SRI vs KEN||Johannesburg||2007|
|248/6||20 overs||AUS vs ENG||Southampton||2013|
|245/6||20 overs||WI vs IND||Lauderhill||2016|
|244/4||20 overs||IND v WI||Lauderhill||2016|