Saturday, March 25, 2023

Sri Lanka take the lead in the series against Australia chasing 292 runs

Colombo, Sri Lanka ( Associated Press) – Pathum Nisanka scored a match-winning 137 as Sri Lanka beat Australia by six wickets in the third one-day international on Sunday to chase down the most successful run at the R Premadasa Stadium.

The hosts chased down their challenging target of 292 runs in Colombo with nine balls to spare and took a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Australia chose to bat first and scored 291-6. Sri Lanka finished at 292-4 in 48.3 overs. It was the most successful run chase at the venue, improving on India’s 288–5 against Sri Lanka in 2012.

Nissanka put on a 170-run stand with Kusal Mendis (87) for the second wicket before Mendis retired due to a hamstring injury.

“We knew it was going to be a tough chase and we needed to keep the wickets in check,” Nissenka said. “That great partnership with Kusal was important.”

Mendis batted brilliantly like the entire series. He played the spin skillfully with clever use of the legs and brilliantly divided the ground. He completed his half-century in just 39 balls, pulling off Josh Hazlewood for four to reach the milestone.

Mendis had scored 87 runs in 85 balls with the help of seven fours when he had to be taken off the field.

Nissenka was also limping running between the wickets but there was no stopping her as she posted the best score of her career before completing her maiden century. He scored 137 runs in 147 balls with the help of 11 fours and two sixes.

Nissenka was playing the role of anchor and needed 63 balls for her half-century. He completed his century in 123 balls before picking up the pace with some brilliant strokes. By the time he got out, the job was almost done as Sri Lanka needed just eight runs.

This was the second century by a Sri Lankan in ODIs this year.

Earlier, Travis Head scored an unbeaten 70 off 65 balls with the help of three fours and three sixes. Australia scored 34 runs in the last two overs, including three sixes in the final over from Dunith Velalez. Head, batting at number six, added 72 runs in 80 balls for the fifth wicket with Alex Carey (49).

Australian captain Aaron Finch said, ‘The credit goes to Sri Lanka for the way they batted. “I thought the wicket got better in the light.”

Sri Lanka dropped opener Danushka Gunatilke, who was suffering from a hamstring injury. Niroshan Dickwella joined the team.

Australia made three changes to the side that lost the second ODI at Pallekele.

The tourists’ injury problem was compounded by the exit of Steve Smith with a left quadriceps injury. The former captain was in good form with scores of 53 and 28 in the series. Mitchell Marsh was declared fit, and Australia also brought in Jhye Richardson and Cameron Green in place of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Swepson.


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