By BV Swagath
Sri Lanka inflicted a 2-0 cleansweep over Australia in their T20I Series with a last-ball win at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Monday. The rain-affected match went till the wire with the Aussies needing four runs to win from the final ball but couldn’t make it, with Glenn Maxwell just not able to connect his shot off Thisara Perera.
The match slipped away from the Aussies with 18 to get from the final over but a couple of boundaries and a noball turned the game on its head before the eventful last ball which the Lankans took ages to bowl. That delay upset Maxwell who had a confrontation of sorts with the Lankans players and later after the game, Matthew Wade got involved in an argument as well.
Asked to bat first after losing the toss, Sri Lanka posted a healthy total of 161 for 4 with Mahela Jayawardene top scoring with 61 (from 45 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes). Thisara Perera provided a sparkling finish with a 15-ball 35* (with 3 fours and 2 sixes). Australia in their run chase were 60 for 2 in 10 overs before rain caused a 45-minute stoppage. The hosts then had to face a stiff revised target which left them needing 62 more runs from the remaining five overs.
The Aussie run chase was carried by Shaun Marsh who remained unbeaten on 47 (from 40 balls with 2 fours and 2 sixes) and Skipper George Bailey who scored a 36-ball 45 (with 4 fours). The duo couldn’t see the Aussies through who lost the match by 3 runs. Thisara Perera got the Man of the Match for his all-round performance of 35* and 1 for 25.