About the Match
Sri Lanka registered an emphatic 82-run victory over Australia in the second one-day match to draw level 1-1 in the ongoing 5-match ODI series; both teams are gearing up for the 3rd ODI at Dambulla on 28th August. Batting first, the hosts set up a target of 289 runs and the bowlers did exceptionally well to defend that with conviction; earlier, the Aussie bowlers too did a fine job but the Lankan firepower proved to be too much to handle. The first ODI saw the visitors restricting the Lankans to 227 runs, which was easily chased down by the batsmen to win the match by 3 wickets. Although not the decider, the upcoming match is a crucial one since the winning side will gain an upper hand.
Batsman Kusal Mendis and the young spinner Amila Aponso performed brilliantly to lift Sri Lanka to a massive victory against Australia in the 2nd ODI; while Mendis posted a run-a-ball 69 to stabilize the innings batting first, Aponso who was playing only his second international one-day, registered figures of 4-18 in his 10-over spell to demolish the Aussie batting line-up.
Chandimal and Mathews too contributed well with the bat, scoring 48 and 57 runs respectively while Kusal Perera posted a superb 54 down the order to take the total to 288 in the end. All-rounder Thisara Perera broke into the Aussie top-order and claimed 3 scalps while Mathews did very well to take 2 wickets, and helped in getting the opposition all-out for just 206 runs.
While the batsmen have done well and can repeat their strong performance in the upcoming match as well, the bowling unit is capable to outwit the Aussies by dominating on the field. Dilshan will be playing his last ODI and can try to hit it big one last time; the win has boosted their morale and they can prove to be a tough nut to crack in their own backyard.
The batting line-up staggered during the chase for 289 with top-order players like Finch and Warner getting out for single digits; Matthew Wade fought heroically to post a well-made 76 but with no stable partners at the other end, Australia succumbed to pressure. Smith, Bailey and Travis Head tried to keep the scoreboard ticking but couldn’t impress much, falling short of the target by 82 runs.
Earlier, the bowlers picked up regular wickets with speedster Mitchell Starc, who had scripted history in the first ODI by becoming the fastest to reach 100 ODI wickets, taking 3-53; fast-bowler Faulkner, who missed another hat-trick, and spinner Adam Zampa provided 3 wickets each to stifle the opposition and they combined well with pace and spin.
In the first match, the batsmen had put up a better performance with Smith and Finch scoring half-centuries and Bailey providing momentum with his 39 runs. Although Smith will be out of action for the rest of the tour, Australia have good resources and can definitely fight hard to make a comeback.
Sri Lankan bowlers outsmarted the Aussie batting line-up in the last game thoroughly and the visitors will have to strategize better; although both teams have match-winners, we feel that Sri Lanka with its battery of spinners and pacers are better placed to win the match again