Sri Lanka has pulled off a thrilling 26-run victory over Australia, who were left to rue their slopping fielding and dropped catches.
Sri Lankan paceman Chamika Karunaratne helped the hosts pull off a thrilling 26-run win over Australia in the rain-hit second one-day international on Thursday.
Chasing a rain-revised target of 216 in 43 overs, Australia suffered from regular wicket falls to get bowled out for 189 in 37.1 overs as Sri Lanka bounced back from their opening loss in the five-match series in Pallekele.
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Karunaratne returned figures of 3/47 including Steve Smith, for 28, and Glenn Maxwell, for 30, and was ably supported by fellow quick Dushmantha Chameera who got the final batsman to bring the raucous home crowd to his feet.
Spinners Dhananjaya de Silva, Dunith Wellalage and Chameera took two wickets each.
De Silva also scored 34 with the bat and put on 61 runs for the third wicket with Kusal Mendis, who made 36, to guide Sri Lanka to 9/220 when rain forced play to stop and late end the innings.
“We were a few short runs. But when we went onto the field, I had a feeling and the trust that our bowlers would defend,” Shanaka said.
“Chamika is a born warrior. He delivers whenever I throw the ball to him.”
Pat Cummins returned figures of 4/35 but his effort went in vain. Australia lost their openers Aaron Finch, on 14, and David Warner, on 37, to De Silva as the tourists faltered in their tricky chase on a seemingly tough pitch to bat.
Smith and Travis Head attempted to rebuild the innings and put together 31 runs before Karunaratne broke through.
Karunaratne got Smith for 28 and Wellalage’s two wickets of Head (23) and Marnus Labuchagne (18) in his two overs put the Aussies in trouble at 5/132.
Maxwell hit back to unsettle the bowlers in his brief stay at the wicket but finally mistimed a shot to get caught at cover off Karunaratne. I have made 30 off 25 balls.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey was run out for 15 as wheels came off the Australian chase.
“The guys got starts and didn’t convert and that was the difference. It was unfortunate,” said Finch, whose team chased down 282 in the series opener.
“Chasing in these conditions where the wicket is slow and spinning is something we need to keep improving on. It is a part of the game we could be better at.”
Earlier Australia’s bowlers backed up their captain’s call to field first, as they removed the openers inside 10 overs and Sri Lanka suffered from a lack of partnerships.
Debutant left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann struck in his third over of international cricket to send back Pathum Nissanka, who was caught behind for 14.
Kuhnemann returned figures of 2/48 and took two catches.
But the Aussies will be ruing a handful of sloppy fielding errors, leaking runs and dropping catches in the outfield.
The third ODI between Sri Lanka and Australia gets underway in Colombo on Sunday, with the first ball scheduled for 7pm AEST.
– with AFP