Charith Aslanka scored an unbeaten 38 as Sri Lanka scored 157 for six while batting first against Australia in Group I of the T20 World Cup Super 12 stage here on Tuesday. Sri Lanka’s batsmen were struggling to score runs in the opening overs but adding 31 runs in the last two overs, the team put up a challenging score. Aslanka hit three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 25-ball knock. They found good support from Chamika Karunaratne (14 not out in seven balls) and the two shared an unbroken 37-run partnership for the seventh wicket in the last 15 balls.
For the team, Pathum Nisanka 40 off 45 balls and Dhananjay de Silva 26 off 23 balls shared a 69-run partnership for the second wicket. Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar and Glenn Maxwell took one wicket each for Australia. Australia won the toss and elected to bowl on a favorable pitch for the fast bowlers and in the power play, the fast bowlers trio of Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc allowed Sri Lanka to score 36 for one. During this, Cummins gave Australia the first success by getting Kusal Mendis caught by Mitchell Marsh in the second over.
Pathum Nisanka hit a four against Hazlewood in the fourth and sixth overs but the team failed to accelerate the run rate. Dhananjay de Silva hit a four against spinner Ashton Agar, who replaced Kovid-19 positive Adam Zampa, but the team could not play a single big shot from the eighth to the 10th over. Sri Lanka scored 63 runs in one wicket in the first 10 overs. Agar benefited from the pressure on the Sri Lankan batsmen, in whose 12th over David Warner took a brilliant catch to end Dhananjaya’s innings.
The Australian captain gave the ball to Mitchell Marsh in the 13th over and Cummins dropped a difficult catch of Nisanka. On the next ball, the new batsman Aslanka sprinkled salt on the burn by hitting a six and then a four. Nisanka was run out in the next over. Known for playing big shots, the bats of Bhanuka Rajapakse (7 runs) and captain Dasoon Shanaka (3 runs) also remained silent.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade took a brilliant catch on Shanaka’s skyscraper shot. In the 18th over, Hazlewood caught Wanindu Hasaranga behind the wicket at the hands of Wade. The next two overs went to the Sri Lankan batsmen in which 11 runs were scored against Starc in the 19th over and 20 against Cummins in the last over. Aslanka hit a four and a six in this over. Australia’s bowlers conceded 23 extra runs in which wide contributed 12 runs.