Asela Gunaratne cameo seals Sri Lanka’s T20 series triumph over Aussies


No Mathews, no Chandimal, a new look Sri Lanka, given the necessitated by the Upul Tharanga captaincy switch,  simply thundering down Australia in a series sealing two straight wins with no real big batting names, but  virtual newcomer Asela Gunaratne reeling off back to back half centuries. Its instant cricket status considerably down following player retirements and injury side linings, thumping the world beaters of cricket in their own backyard is indeed sky high stuff. If the opening match at Melbourne was a glorious down to the  wire triumph, coming trumps up from what looked certain defeat at Kardinia Park in Victoria knocking off 174 was  blood and thunder re-insulating insulating stuff.

On a day bigger names like skipper Tharanga and Kusal Mendis were back in the pavilion in next to no time and the inform Niroshan Dickwella also claimed early by the Aussies, personally for the 31-year old Gunaratne it was the stage to rise in stature by his 46-ball unbeaten 84 spanning 6 boundaries and five sixes; Sri Lanka thus wriggling from a hopeless 40 for 4 and 40 for 5 to 92 for 6 and further calamity at 119 for 7 with the Gunaratne- Nuwan Kulasekera  41-run eighth wicket alliance the match turning fire to the Lankan cause. That the winning hit came off a Gunaratne boundary following a tension filled moment when the strike went to Lasith Malinga with two required off three did script the final drama. The consecutive three sixes  by Gunaratne and a four before that left Sri Lanka needing 14 from the final over, to be bowled by Andrew Tye who prised out  Kulasekara.  However, Gunaratne , back on strike, struck a boundary, six over mid-off before the single that added to the final drama. Sri Lanka had done it again following the 5-wicket win in the opening match.

By Srian Obeyesekere

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