Josh Hazlewood has led Australia to victory in the first T20 against Sri Lanka, triggering a huge collapse from the hosts with a stunning spell of bowling.
Hazlewood once again showed why he is one of the best white-ball bowlers in the world, taking 4-16 as Sri Lanka collapsed from 1-100 to be all-out for 128 in Colombo.
‘UNHEALTHY’: Joe Root spills on ugly England cricket truth
VOODOO MAGIC: Joe Root’s ‘freak’ act stuns cricket world
The 31-year-old silenced a packed crowd at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday night, running through Sri Lanka with a three-wicket burst in the 14th over as the hosts lost 4-3 and 9-28 overall.
Aussie openers David Warner (70 not out) and Aaron Finch (61 not out) then backed up Hazlewood’s dominance, powering Australia to 0-101 in the 12th over before heavy rain stopped play.
When play resumed, Finch guided a six to third man for the winning runs as Australia passed Sri Lanka’s total with 36 balls to spare for a 10-wicket victory.
“Josh was outstanding with the ball, he was very good through the IPL and he’s started well here,” Warner said.
“It was a great start, we had a couple of lead-in days with training and it’s very hot and humid over here.”
Finch was given out lbw in the first over but he successfully reviewed the decision, going onto carve out his best T20I score since March 2021.
The reigning T20 world champions crushed Sri Lanka – who are now being led by former England coach Chris Silverwood – despite the hosts making a promising start after Finch won the toss and bowled first.
Hazlewood began the rout by dismissing dangerous opener Danushka Gunathilaka for 26 in the fifth over.
Gunathilaka’s opening partner Pathum Nissanka (36) combined for a 61-run stand with Charith Asalanka (38) as the pair looked comfortable at the crease.
Asalanka crashed a giant six into the scoreboard off Kane Richardson, and he was dropped on the boundary by Steve Smith.
But Hazlewood was brought back on to continue his dominance of Sri Lanka, after starring in Australia’s 4-1 series win on home soil in February.
The NSW bowler’s transformation into a feared limited-overs star has been nothing short of extraordinary.
He missed selection for Australia’s World Cup squad in 2019 and seemed to have been pigeon-holed as a Test specialist.
But he was a leading figure as Chennai Super Kings won the 2021 Indian Premier League title and took that form into the T20 World Cup where he took 3-16 in the final.
Fellow quick Mitchell Starc cleaned up the tail, with two wickets in the 19th over to finish with figures of 3-26, despite splitting his index finger.
“They’ll assess (Starc) to see if he needs stitches, or if he can glue it up and be ready (for the next match) but I’m probably doubting that,” Warner said.
Cricket fans were left in awe of Hazlewood’s stunning display.
Australia and Sri Lanka will be back in action on Wednesday night in Colombo, before the final T20 takes place in Kandy on Saturday.
Josh Hazlewood has the most wickets in the powerplay in T20Is since 2021 ⬇️
Josh Hazlewood – 18 wkts
Nasum Ahmed – 16 wkts
Hasan Ali – 11 wkts#SLvAUS pic.twitter.com/UlGpP1mjw5
— CricXtasy (@CricXtasy) June 7, 2022
No.1 ranked pace bowler in T20I’s for a reason
— james (@james33892483) June 7, 2022
This guy is on another level 🔥
— Raj_Punter (@raj_punter) June 7, 2022
Goodness, he walk into Australia all time t20 XI.
— Cong Du Nguyen (@CongDuNguyen1) June 7, 2022
Just Josh Hazlewood doing Hazlewood things. What. A. Transformation. Unreal. Mind-boggling. Unimaginable. He takes wickets with Test Match stuff in T20s. Who wud have imagined this guy about an year back that he’ll be among the great T20 bowlers. 🙌#SLvAUS #AUSvSL #Hazlewood
— Ani (@anirudhani_) June 7, 2022
4/16 in just 4 overs for Josh Hazlewood .. Unreal 🔥 #SLvAUS
— 🅒🅡🅘︎🅒︎🄲🅁🄰🅉🅈𝗠𝗥𝗜𝗚𝗨™ 🇮🇳❤️ (@MSDianMrigu) June 7, 2022
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.