Sri Lanka lose to Australia in close game
LONDON, Friday: Half-centuries from skipper Angelo Mathews (95) and Asela Gunaratne (70) coupled with a splendid spell of fast bowling from Nuwan Pradeep (3/57) was not enough for Sri Lanka who lost a close ICC Champions trophy warm-up match to Australia by two wickets with 2 balls to spare at the Oval on Friday.
Invited to bat first Sri Lanka put up a challenging score of 318-7, but Aaron Finch with a superb 137 off 109 balls and Travis Head 85 not out off 73 balls (7 fours) steered Australia to a nerve-tingling two win.
Sri Lanka lost their first four wickets for 92 by the 17th over before Mathews with the help of Chamara Kapugedera (30) staged the first of three recovery partnerships.
The pair added 60 for the fifth wicket before Kapugedera was dismissed. Mathews joined by Gunaratne carried the Sri Lanka total to 243 when the Lankan captain was out five short of a well deserved century. His 106-ball innings comprised nine fours and two sixes.
Gunaratne however continued undeterred by the loss of his captain and produced the best partnership of the innings with Seekkuge Prasanna.
The pair raced to 70 off 37 balls carrying the Sri Lanka total beyond the 300-run mark.
Prasanna slammed three sixes and one four in his cameo knock of 31 off 19 balls and Gunaratne was equal to the task making a brilliant 70 off 56 balls with eight fours and two sixes.
Pick of the Aussie bowlers was Moises Henriques with 3 for 46.
Aaron Finch launched Australia’s run chase in blistering fashion posting 64 off 68 balls for the first wicket with David Warner whose contribution in the partnership was only 19. Australia were cruising at 218-3 with Finch having posted a superb century reaching it with a six off Gunaratne off 76 balls.
However a bowling change that saw Nuwan Pradeep into the attack changed the Australian tempo and brought Sri Lanka back into the game.
Pradeep produced a fine 36th over by dismissing the in form Finch for 137 off 109 balls (11 fours, 6 sixes) and the dangerous Glenn Maxwell for a first ball duck.
Lasith Malinga whose first six overs cost only 20 runs returned to the attack to get rid of Mathew Wade for 13 to reduce Australia to 242-6 in the 40th over.