Chandimal ton goes in vain as Australia secure a low-scoring thriller
Australia 227-8 (Bailey 70) beat
Sri Lanka 226 (Chandimal 102) by two wickets
Third One-Day International in Dambulla
A century from Dinesh Chandimal went in vain as Australia, led by George Bailey’s 70, chased down the target of 227 runs in 46 overs to secure a two-wicket win in a close encounter against Sri Lanka in the third One-Day International in Dambulla.
Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. The hosts lost Danushka Gunathilaka (5) and Kusal Mendis (4) in quick succession at the start but Tillakaratne Dilshan (42) and Chandimal (102) rebuilt the innings and took the team to 53 for two in the first powerplay.
The pair soon brought up a fifty-run stand in the 14th over. The breakthrough came when Adam Zampa (3-38) had Dilshan caught at midwicket, drawing curtains on an illustrious career.
An over later, Zampa also accounted for Angelo Mathews (2) as Sri Lanka reached 114 for four at the half-way mark.
Soon after Chandimal completed his half-century, Sri Lanka lost Dhananjaya de Silva (12). Kusal Perera (11) hung out for about half hour but Australia sent him back to the pavilion along with Thisara Perera (9) before the 40th over.
Chandimal went past 3000 ODI runs as Sri Lanka were positioned at 175 for seven with 10 overs left.
Chandimal continued to go strongly at one end and completed his century, but Australia chipped away at the other end, bowling Sri Lanka out for 226 runs in 49.2 overs.
In the chase, Australia were rocked early when David Warner (10) was caught by Dilshan (0-24) at point off Mathews (2-30) in the fifth over.
Aaron Finch (30) and Shaun Marsh (1) fell in successive overs as Sri Lanka restricted Australia to 45 for three at the end of the first powerplay.
Bailey (70) and Travis Head (36) played cautious cricket and took few risks to keep the scoreboard ticking. The pair added 62 runs in 13.3 overs before Dilruwan Perera (2-45) castled Head in the 23rd over.
At the half-way mark, Australia needed 113 runs with six wickets in hand. Even as Sri Lankan spinners rushed through the proceedings, Bailey joined hands with Matthew Wade (42) and put on a crucial 81-run stand for the fifth wicket.
Bailey brought up his fifty in 69 balls. Dilruwan brought the breakthrough by having Wade stumped in the 39th over.
With 35 runs needed from the last 10 overs, Australia suffered a mini batting collapse as Bailey and James Faulkner (4) fell in successive overs.
A couple of blows from Mitchell Starc (12) brought the equation down to single digits before he was dismissed.
Australia wrapped up the chase in the 46th over and secured a two-wicket win which gave them a 2-1 lead in the series. Bailey was the man of the match for his fifty.
© Cricket World 2016