Australia’s bowlers set up a four-wicket victory over Sri Lanka to sweep the two-match Twenty20 International series at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday (September 9) and, in the process, spoilt Tillakaratne Dilshan’s farewell party.
Australia, which won the first exchange by 85 runs in Pallekele after scoring 263 for 3, rode on a 29-ball 66 from Glenn Maxwell, the hero of the first T20I, to chase down the 129-run target with 13 balls to spare even though there was a major wobble once Maxwell fell.
Earlier, James Faulkner (3-19) and Adam Zampa (3-16) were the main wicket-takers as Sri Lanka was restricted to 128 for 9 despite Dhananjaya de Silva’s battling half-century after the home side had opted to bat. De Silva, one of only two batsmen – Kusal Perera (22) being the other – to reach double figures, scored 62 in 50 balls, but his was a rearguard act in an average batting performance.
Dilshan, who quit the 50-over format during the five-match series against Australia, which Sri Lanka lost 4-1, scored just one from three balls in his final international game but took two wickets to add some late drama to Australia’s chase.
Dilshan, a month short of 40, was given a standing ovation by a raucous home crowd as he ended his 17-year-long glittering career. However, the inventor of the Dilscoop did not have a chance to execute the stroke in his last time out in Sri Lanka’s colours.
Maxwell, fresh from his unbeaten 145 off 65 deliveries on Tuesday, once again hogged the headlines after equalling the Australian record for the fastest T20I half-century, in 18 balls. Maxwell, who put on a 93-run opening stand with David Warner, was bowled by Seekkuge Prasanna after hitting seven fours and four sixes and putting Australia on the road to victory.
Sachith Pathirana then struck twice in the tenth over of the innings to get Moises Henriques and Warner, who scored 25, back to the pavilion. Faulkner’s run out in the very next over gave Sri Lanka a scent of a turnaround as Australia suddenly found the going tough. And Dilshan then trapped Usman Khawaja lbw with his off-spin and got the wicket of Matthew Wade, who scored 14, in his very next over as Australia slipped from 93 for no loss to 120 for 6. Dilshan ended with 2 for 8 from two overs.
But Travis Head, who remained unbeaten on nine, hit the winning runs to help Australia finish the two-month long tour on a high after the visiting side suffered its first series whitewash in the three-Test series.