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Recent Match Report – Australia vs Sri Lanka 1st T20I 2021/22


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Ben McDermott top-scored for Australia with his maiden international fifty

Australia 149 for 9 (McDermott 53, Hasaranga 3-38) beat Sri Lanka 122 for 8 (Hazlewood 4-12, Zampa 3-18) by 20 runs (DLS method

As has often been the case for Sri Lanka in the past year, the bowlers took the game by the collar, and the batters then let the match slip. Having restricted Australia to 149 for 9 on a decent batting deck, Sri Lanka lost two wickets in the first three overs, and never really recovered. They’d been chasing 143, after an over of the chase was lost to rain.

Australia’s quicks had made those initial inroads, but Adam Zampa then sealed the match through the middle overs, claiming 3 for 18 from his four overs, to precipitate a collapse that saw Sri Lanka lose 5 wickets for 26 in 5.2 overs. Josh Hazlewood, who had taken the first wicket of the innings, claimed three more late in the innings to finish with figures of 4 for 12.
The hosts too had lost wickets rapidly in the second half of their innings, but had two solid performances that carried them to their score – Ben McDermott‘s 53 off 41, his maiden international fifty, at the top of the innings, and Marcus Stoinis 30 off 17 in the middle overs.

Gunathilaka and Avishka hole out

Sri Lanka’s top three just couldn’t get the boundaries away in the powerplay. There were plays-and-misses, defensive pushes, good shots that found fielders, and a steady building up of frustration. Mitchell Starc’s first over cost only one run. Hazlewood only conceded one off the bat in the first five balls of the next over. With Sri Lanka on just three runs after 11 deliveries, Danushka Gunathilaka attempted to blast Hazlewood over the leg side, but succeeded only in mis-hitting it to midwicket.

Two overs later, Avishka Fernando cracked Pat Cummins over the deep midwicket boundary for six, but sent a high catch behind the wicket attempting to repeat the shot. In the end, Sri Lanka mustered only 30 runs for the loss of those two wickets, by the end of the Powerplay. The required rate had climbed past 8.5 by this stage.

Zampa and Hazlewood rip through the middle order

Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka put on Sri Lanka’s best partnership of the match, even if their 43 together took 41 balls to make. But as was the case right through the World Cup last year, Zampa didn’t take long to sap what little momentum the opposition was building. He dismissed Nissanka first, having him caught by an advancing wide long on, before getting Asalanka to hole out to deep square leg. In the last over of his spell, he got Wanindu Hasaranga to spoon one to cover too.

Sri Lanka’s lower-middle and lower order needed to hit out desperately, but Hazlewood is hard to clobber. Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera were both caught off top-edges, as the batters tried to clear leg-side boundaries. Chamika Karunaratne, was out caught and bowled when a leading edge popped up down the pitch, and Hazlewood took a good low catch. Between them, Zampa and Hazlewood claimed seven wickets.

Australia close poorly after McDermott fifty

Australia were never explosive at any stage of their innings, but thanks to McDermott’s solidity, they had got to 75 for 1 after 10 overs, and seemed headed for a total in the vicinity of 170, given the firepower to come. Sri Lanka repeatedly dented Australia’s advance through this period, however, with Karunaratne and Hasaranga striking twice apiece, in the space of five overs.

There was a brief Australia resurgence while Stoinis was at the crease, but Binura Fernando and Chameera both had double-wicket overs in the death. Sri Lanka conceded only nine runs and took four wickets in the last three overs of Australia’s innings.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf



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