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SL v Aus, 4th ODI Review: Hastings, Bailey guide Australia to a thumping series win

Australia
Australian cricketer John Hastings (R) celebrates the dismissal of Sri Lanka cricketer Dilruwan Perera (L) during the fourth One Day International (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket stadium in Dambulla on August 31, 2016. (Photo by ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

After eking out a close victory in the previous match, Australia needed just one more win to take an unassailable lead in the 5-match ODI series. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were desperate for a win to stay alive in the series. Being 2-1 down, Sri Lanka needed to win at Dambulla to make the final ODI the deciding one for the series.

The match, however, turned out to be in the favour of the visitors. Hardly anyone would have fancied Australia’s chances in the ODI series after their dismal Test outing. The 4th ODI belonged solely to pacer John Hastings and the Australian top order.

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Coming into the match, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first. They made a host of changes. A forced change was in the form of young Avishka Fernando making his debut and replacing Tillakaratne Dilshan, who retired after the last ODI. Sachith Parithana and Angelo Perera were the other two inclusions in the side in place of Seekuge Prasanna and Danushka Gunathilaka.

Australia, on the other hand, got in Scott Boland and Usman Khawaja in place of Josh Hazlewood and Shaun Marsh. Dhananjaya de Silva was promoted up the order to open with the 18-year old Avishka Fernando. Things turned sour for the young debutant as he was dismissed for a duck by Mitchell Starc in the very first over.

Kusal Mendis (1) and Dinesh Chandimal (5) followed soon and fell to the accurate lines of Hastings and Boland respectively. Skipper Angelo Mathews then joined hands with de Silva to reconstruct the innings from a stage where they were 31/3. De Silva played with finesse as he walked to his fifty and looked a calm customer in the middle. Truly, he is a good find for Sri Lanka this season. They put on 90 runs for the 4th wicket from 119 balls before de Silva was sent back by Hastings after scoring 76 off 87 balls (9 fours).

Angelo Perera (7) and Kusal Perera (6) couldn’t add much to the scoreboard. They fell in quick succession as Australia had a stranglehold on Sri Lanka at 134/6. Thisara Perera’s 13 came off 26 before Hastings came back to send him packing in the 43rd over. Dilruwan Perera departed for 18 to get Pathirana at the crease. Mathews looked perplexed at the other end seeing wickets fall in a heap.

Pathirana struggled for his 39-ball 24 before becoming Hastings’ fifth scalp of the night. Mathews’ lone resistance at the crease ended when Hastings bagged his 6th on the last ball of the innings to send Mathews back for 40 (71). Sri Lanka could manage just 212 in their 50 overs.

The wicket looked tricky but the way Aussie openers approached it, Aaron Finch, in particular, spoke against the nature of the wicket. Finch announced his arrival in style when he hit Amila Aponso for 4 consecutive fours in the 2nd over of the match. He continued his hard hitting and reached his fifty in just 18 balls with a monster six. However, he was dismissed on the very next ball as he walked back to the pavilion with a 19-ball 55 studded with 8 fours and 3 sixes.

In walked Usman Khawaja, but only to be dismissed in the same over for a duck. Sachith Parithana was the beneficiary on both occasions. George Bailey joined David Warner at the crease. Bailey was in no mood to stop either as Australia rose to 109 after just 10 overs of play. Warner became Parithana’s 3rd victim and departed after scoring 19 off 16 balls.

Travis Head was the new man in and the young man showed some class to give right support to Bailey, who was going all guns blazing at the other end. He reached his fifty in quick time and looked set to see Australia through to an emphatic win. Just when Australia looked cruising to the target, things slowed down in the middle with the Sri Lankan spinners extracting turn.

Head’s prolonged stay of 60 balls at the crease yielded 40 runs and was dismissed by Dilruwan Perera. With 16 more to get, Matthew Wade joined Bailey. It was all formality from thereon. Bailey finished with an unbeaten 90 off 85 balls with 11 fours and a six as Australia thumped Sri Lanka by 6 wickets to seal the series.

Brief Scores:

Sri Lanka – 212/10 in 50 overs (De Silva 76, Mathews 40; Hastings 6/45, Head 1/5)

Australia – 217/4 in 31 overs (Bailey 90*, Finch 55; Pathirana 3/37, Perera 1/69)

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