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Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I: 5 Talking Points

Sri Lanka
Seekkuge Prasanna of Sri Lanka hugs Chamara Kapugedera after he hit the winning run. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

After a disastrous ODI series against the Proteas, Sri Lanka came back with a bang and pocketed the 1st T20I of the three-match series against Australia at the MCG today. It was an exceptional all-round performance from Sri Lanka as the young brigade applied themselves and came out triumphant. After a 2-1 series victory in South Africa, a victory in the opening match of the Australian tour will surely boost their confidence going into the remaining two matches of the series.

After batting first, Australia posted a competitive 168 on the board at the end of their allotted 20 overs. Opener Aaron Finch and debutant Michael Klinger shared a terrific opening wicket partnership to propel them to a score of nearly 170. Riding on useful contributions from Asela Gunarathne and Dilshan Munaweera, Sri Lanka chased down the target in the final delivery of the over as Chamara Kapugedara smashed Andrew Tye for a scorching boundary through the cover region.

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That said here we have a look at 5 Talking Points from the last ball thriller

1. Impressive opening partnership by Aaron Finch and Michael Klinger

A veteran of the domestic circuit, 36-year-old Michael Klinger finally made his international debut in the opening encounter at Sri Lanka. Australia began on a cautious note scoring only 19 runs in the first three overs before Klinger smashed Vikum Sanjaya for a couple of boundaries in the 5th over to take Australia to 43/000 at the end of the 5th over.

Finch reached his 1000th T20I run in the 8th over of Sekkugge Prasanna and celebrated his landmark by smashing left-arm chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan for a gigantic six over the bowlers head. The partnership eventually came to an end in the 11th over as Sandakan removed Klinger with a fullish wrong un outside the off stump. Finch too gave away his wicket cheaply in the 12th over to reduce the hosts to 89/2 at the end of the 12th over.

Also read: AUS v SL 1st T20I Review: Sri Lanka manage to keep their nerves in a last ball win

2. Lasith Malinga makes a terrific comeback

Veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga made a terrific comeback in the national team and returned with impressive figures of 2/29 in his allotted 4 overs. He bowled the opening over of the match and conceded only 6 runs in his first over. Captain Tharanga kept him back for the final overs and the slinga didn’t disappoint.

He came back in the 14th over and conceded only 7 runs bowling a mixture of Yorkers and slower deliveries. He bowled an impressive 3rd over too but in his final over he got his rewards by removing Travis Head and Ashton Turner in consecutive deliveries. Eventually, his spell was instrumental in keeping Australia down to 170.

3. Dilshan Munaweera chips in with a breezy innings

After losing Upul Tharanga in the opening over itself, Dilshan Munaweera joined southpaw Niroshan Dickwella in the middle and looked to rebuild the innings after the early loss of their captain. Munaweera began with a hat-trick of boundaries of the bowling of Billy Stanlake in the 4th over and added three more in the next two overs.

Apart from playing the big shots, he also rotated the strike along nicely. Eventually, the hard-hitting batsman fell in the 11th over to leg-spinner Adam Zampa while attempting an extravagant shot. His 29 balls 44 contained 6 boundaries.

4. Asela Gunaratne smashes a match-winning half-century

Coming out to bat with Sri Lanka comfortably placed at 79/2 in the 10th over, Gunaratne started off from where he left in the final ODI against South Africa where he scored a magnificent century. The swashbuckling batsman began on a sedating note as he scored only 14 in his first 16 deliveries after playing out the initial phase he looked in complete control of proceedings and took on the Australian bowlers with disdain.

First, he smashed Andrew Tye for a couple of boundaries in the 14th over and followed it up with 5 more boundaries in the next 3 overs. He reached his fifty in the 17th over but was dismissed by Ashton Turner soon after. His innings of 52 of 37 deliveries contained 7 hits to the fence.

Also read: Twitter Reactions: Sri Lanka win a close thriller to continue excellent T20I record

5. Ashton Turner’s double strike in quick time

Just when Sri Lanka was coasting along to their victory target, debutant Ashton Turner, the part-time off-spinner turned the game on its head with double strike within 3 deliveries. Finch brought him into the attack in the 18th over and he did wonder almost immediately. In the very first delivery of his career, turner removed Gunaratne with a well-tossed delivery. He stepped out and missed it altogether and the wicket-keeper Tim Paine did the rest.

In the 3rd delivery of the over, the offie removed Milinda Siriwardana with a flatter trajectory delivery. The ball pitched on the middle and leg and crashed onto his pads. Though it was a debatable decision but the umpire ruled it in favour of the bowling team. Eventually, his exceptional spell wasn’t enough to save Australia from an unlikely defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka.

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