Pathum and Kusal pilot Sri Lanka to a grand six-wicket win | Daily News
Host nation take 2-1 lead

Pathum and Kusal pilot Sri Lanka to a grand six-wicket win

Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis (87) and Pathum Nissanka (137) running between the wickets. Pix by SLC
Sri Lanka’s Kusal Mendis (87) and Pathum Nissanka (137) running between the wickets. Pix by SLC

Pathum Nissanka, the 24-year-old right-hand opener produced a world-class batting performance, the best we have seen from a Sri Lankan in a while, as they guided the hosts to a remarkable a six-wicket victory against Australia to take a 2-1 series lead in their five-match series played at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday.

Pathum Nissanka celebrates his century.

Nissanka shared a valuable second-wicket stand of 169 runs with Kusal Mendis as they helped Sri Lanka chase down a big target of 292 and win the game with 9 balls to spare. Mendis, batting at number three, played a good supporting role while he retired hurt with a hamstring injury on 87 (off 85 balls) hitting hit 8 fours.

Mendis and Nissanka have registered the highest second-wicket partnership of 169 runs for Sri Lanka against Aussies, surpassing 163 runs made by ‘Master Blaster’ Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara in 2006.

Nissanka was named the Man of the Match for his fantastic knock of 137 in 147 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes was dismissed in 48th over bowled by Jhye Richardson as David Warner pulled off an excellent one-handed catch at mid-off. This was Nissanka’s maiden ODI century after 14 ODIs.

However, Charith Asalanka the stylish left-hander hit a superb six over mid-wicket to seal their victory on the third delivery of the 48th over which was bowled by Josh Hazelwood.

Australia opted to bat first after skipper Aaron Finch won the sixth toss in a row on this tour. Their plan was very clear to build up a big total in their 50 overs and piled up 291 for 6 wickets. The openers Finch and David Warner couldn’t get a good start as paceman Dushmantha Chameera made an early breakthrough to dismiss Warne in the third over of the innings helped by a good running catch taken by Maheesh Theekshana at fine leg.

All rounder Mitchell Marsh joined Finch but did not last long and was caught by Kusal Mendis in the covers off the bowling of young Dunith Wellalage and they were 47 for 2 wickets at that stage.

Skipper Finch who made a valuable knock of 62 in 85 balls with 4 fours and a six played his part to build up the innings while Alex Carey (49 in 52 balls with 3 fours and six) and Glenn Maxwell who played an explosive knock of 33 in 18 balls with 3 fours and a six was finally dismissed as Dunith Wellalage took a fantastic running catch in the 45th over bowled by Jeffrey Vandersay who had the best figures of 3 for 49 in a ten-over spell. Travis Head the 28 year old left hander played a superb innings to build up their total when he used his experience to score an unbeaten 70 in 65 balls with 3 fours and 3 sixes while 23 year old all rounder Cameron Green who played his fifth ODI remained unbeaten on 15 in 12 balls as Aussies finished on 291 for six wickets with a run rate of 5.82 per over which is a challenging total on the R. Premadasa Stadium wicket.

Maheesh Theekshana mystery spinner went wicketless in his ten overs giving away 37 runs while paceman Dushmantha Chameera bowled only 8 overs and finished with 1 for 49 while young Dunith Wellalage took 1 for 56 in his ten overs and last game match hero Chamika Karunaratne bowled only five overs and finished wicketless giving way 46 runs.

Australia have made three changes. Steve Smith was ruled out while all-rounder Mitchell Marsh came back after a calf injury and Cameron Green came in and batted at number 8 to strengthen the Australia batting.

The two teams will meet their 4th ODI tomorrow (21) at the same venue under lights at 2.30 pm. 

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