Article

Sri Lanka sneak home at the MCG

17 February 2017 14:05

Sri Lanka claimed a dramatic final-ball victory over Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to move 1-0 up in their three-match Twenty20 international series.

The tourists initially looked set to triumph comfortably on Friday after Dilshan Munaweera (44) and Asela Gunaratne (52) put them ahead of the required rate in pursuit of 169.

However, Gunaratne and Milinda Siriwardana (15) fell in quick succession to Ashton Turner - one of three Australia debutants - in the 18th over and Sri Lanka still needed half a dozen runs when Andrew Tye (0-32) was called upon to bowl the final set of six.

That target was reduced to three from two balls amid increasing tension, but Chamara Kapugedera (10 not out) scrambled two from the penultimate delivery before cracking Tye through the covers for a boundary that sealed a five-wicket win and delighted a sizeable contingent of Sri Lanka fans.

There was little sign of the drama to follow when Munaweera and Gunaratne guided Sri Lanka into a position of strength.

After skipper Upul Tharanga had fallen to Pat Cummins for a duck in the first over of the chase, Munaweera shared 74 with Niroshan Dickwella (30) for the second wicket.

Dickwella and Munaweera fell in successive overs from Adam Zampa (2-26 from four), but the spinner was denied a third wicket when Australia captain Aaron Finch failed to take a difficult chance leaping to his left at short midwicket, reprieving Gunaratne on 11.

Gunaratne took advantage of his let-off, bringing up a maiden T20I fifty from 34 balls with his seventh four, and Sri Lanka were able to get over the line despite their late wobble.

Turner's fellow Australia debutants enjoyed contrasting fortunes. Michael Klinger impressed by contributing 38 to an opening stand of 76 with Finch (43), but seamer Billy Stanlake conceded 42 from three wicket-less overs.

The hosts were unable to fully capitalise on their solid start, Sri Lanka striking at regular intervals thereafter as Lasith Malinga (2-29 from four) and Seekkuge Prasanna (0-23 from four) shone.

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