Gunaratne leads Lanka to series win over Australia
Geelong (Australia), Feb 19 (IANS) A brilliant innings from Asela Gunaratne helped Sri Lanka seal a final-ball victory against Australia in the second Twenty20 International on Sunday at the Geelongs Kardinia Park, in front of more than 13,500 people.
After Australia claimed five wickets in Sri Lanka’s batting power play, Gunaratne’s unbeaten 84 off 46 deliveries saw Sri Lanka romp home by two wickets with a boundary off the final delivery.
Sri Lanka now hold an unassailable 2-0 advantage after two final-ball results in the first two matches of the series, heading into the third and final match at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
Earlier in the evening, Moises Henriques was the star with the bat for the hosts with an unbeaten half-century.
Henriques’ unbeaten knock of 56 runs off 37 balls guided Australia to a total of 173, with Michael Klinger (43 off 37) and Ben Dunk (32 off 14) also making important contributions.
Nuwan Kulasekara was the best among the Sri Lanka bowlers, claiming figures of 4/31, including three wickets in the final over of the innings.
Lasith Malinga and Seekkuge Prasanna claimed two wickets each.
In reply, Sri Lanka lost five wickets during the six-over batting power-play, including two in two balls to Andrew Tye.
Middle-order batsmen Gunaratne and Chamara Kapugedera (32 off 32) combined for a 52-run partnership, with Gunaratne notching his half century in the penultimate over of the match.
But from there, Gunaratne took charge, hitting a four over mid-off to seal victory on the final ball of the match.
Tye finished with 3/37 off his four overs, while James Faulkner picked up two wickets.
Australia: 173 in 20 overs (Moises Henriques 56 not out; Nuwan Kulasekara 4/31) vs Sri Lanka: 176/8 in 20 overs (Asela Gunaratne 84 not out; Andrew Tye 3/37).