Daily Sabah (Turkey)

Sri Lanka avoids Australia T20 clean sweep after Mendis knock


SRI LANKA picked up a win yesterday to avoid a clean sweep at the hands of Australia in a five-match Twenty20 internatio­nal series.

Opener Kusal Mendis struck an unbeaten 69 off 58 balls to help secure the consolatio­n five-wicket victory.

The host side posted a middling 154-6 after opting to bat in Melbourne, but the Sri Lankan batters finally found their feet to reach 155-5 with one ball remaining, ending the series 4-1 in Australia’s favor.

Mendis batted positively, but sensibly, with captain Dasun Shanaka (35) in an 83-run partnershi­p which powered Sri Lanka to their first win against Australia in any format since 2017.

Seamer Kane Richardson took 2-28, but Australia’s second-string bowling attack never looked threatenin­g after conceding 54-2 in the powerplay.

“When we come to the World Cup (in October), we will be really prepared,” Shanaka said. “We could have done better in this series.”

Reduced to 13-2 after five overs, Australia struggled to build any partnershi­ps of substance as Dushmantha Chameera (2-30) and Lahiru Kumara (2-34) troubled the batsmen with pace.

Aaron Finch’s summer, in which the skipper scored 78 runs at a strike rate of 92, ended with a whimper when he was caught on eight.

Matthew Wade struck 43 not out in the back end of the innings to drag his side to a competitiv­e score.

“It (154) probably just wasn’t quite enough at the end,” Finch said.

“Sri Lanka are a very dangerous side and to win four games in a row was really good.”

Australia now prepares for its first test on Pakistani soil since 1998, scheduled to begin on March 4, while Sri Lanka’s next assignment is a T20 series in India starting Thursday.

 ?? ?? Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis plays against Australia, Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 20, 2022.
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis plays against Australia, Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 20, 2022.

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