Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka has sent cricket fans into a frenzy after producing what his being described as one of the greatest international T20 finishes to topple Australia in the final match of their three-game series.
Aussie captain Aaron Finch insists he is happy with his team’s depth a few months out from their T20 World Cup defence, despite seeing Shanaka deny the visitors a series clean sweep in breathtaking fashion.
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A superb all-round performance from Marcus Stoinis (38 off 23 balls and 2-8 off two overs) had Australia well placed for victory, but the hosts produced a sensational finish to secure a dramatic four-wicket win.
Chasing 177 at the Pallekele Stadium in Kandy on Saturday, Sri Lanka, who failed to reach 130 in the first two games, slumped to 6-108 In the 16th over.
However, an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 69 between Shanaka (54 off 25 balls) and Chamika Karunaratne (14 off 10) propelled Sri Lanka to an improbable win as they belted 59 runs off the last three overs.
Sri Lanka still needed a whopping 19 runs off the final over to seal victory, with their captain belting a pair of fours and a towering six to level the scores.
Kane Richardson then fired down a wide for Australia to gift Sri Lanka the most extraordinary of wins that left viewers in disbelief on social media.
One of the best T20I finishes I’ve ever witnessed👏🇱🇰
That was some brutal hitting skip @dasunshanaka1😍
Timed the innings perfectly. Keep playing like this and the team will follow💪
Good to carry some momentum into the ODIs❤️#SLvAUS
— Lasith Malinga (@ninety9sl) June 11, 2022
What a finish in Kandy!
What a scintillating finish by 🇱🇰 Captain @dasunshanaka1. Perfect hitting.
What a captivating end to the T20 series between Aussies & Lankans!
In last 2.5 overs, kangaroos conceded 59 runs. Unbelievable.
Well done 𝗦𝗿𝗶 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝗸𝗮!
Congrats Australia!#SLvAUS pic.twitter.com/7pU2qvfZfg
— Shazil Shujah (@ShazilShujah) June 11, 2022
What a finish in Kandy!#shanaka what an innings
Sri Lanka score 59 runs in the last three overs to win the third T20 #SLvAUS
— Arun Dhanush (@ArunDha69743194) June 11, 2022
Wow, what a finish
SL chansed down 59 from 18 balls.
Dasun Shanaka, The lone survivor of SL cricket in white ball from last year & So.
Hazlewood give away 3 runs from 3 overs. His last over went for 22.
Brilliant hitting #AUSvsSL
— Majid (@Majid_t20) June 11, 2022
Nice guys don’t always finish last. Beyond thrilled for @dasunshanaka1. The way he just transformed that innings to win it for @OfficialSLC out of nowhere was insane. One of the finest T20 innings I have ever watched. 🇱🇰 ❤️ #SLVSAUS #SLvAUS
— Yohan Senarath (@YohanSena) June 11, 2022
The Aussie quicks lost their discipline as the match wore on, with Shanaka blasting five fours and four sixes, with Josh Hazlewood conceding 22 runs in the 18th over after giving away just three off his first three.
Jhye Richardson (1-46 off four) leaked 18 off the 19th over, leaving the home team needing 19 off the last.
Kane Richardson (0-44 off 2.5 overs) started the 20th with two wides as he looked to bowl yorkers outside the off stump.
Australia went into the game without three of their specialist bowlers in pacemen Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and spinner Adam Zampa plus a fourth member of last year’s World Cup winning side, allrounder Mitch Marsh, who missed the game with a minor calf strain.
Finch, named player of the series after scoring 114 runs at an average of 57, was happy with the depth of the team a few months out from their home defence of the World Cup.
“We’ve seen over the last 12 months that we haven’t had a full quota of players to pick from at certain times so we’ve had to mix and match and we’ve had some really good results as well, so we’re really comfortable with the depth of the team,” he said.
Australia made 5-176 after Finch won the toss for the third time in as many matches.
Finch (29 off 20) and David Warner (39 off 33) got Australia off to a swift start with an opening stand of 43 off 5.4 overs.
Stoinis helped his side recover from losing wickets off three straight balls in mid-innings after they were well placed at 1-85 after 9.5 overs.
Steve Smith (37 not out off 27) made his highest score in his last nine T20I games.
Stoinis was called upon to bowl his first overs of the series and he dismissed Pathum Nissanka (27 off 25) and Charith Asalanka (26 off 19) after the home team reached 1-67 in the ninth over.
But even after taking three more wickets and looking certain winners Australia couldn’t close out the game.
“Maybe we got a little bit ahead of the game and ahead of ourselves there for a second,” Stoinis said.
The five-match ODI series between the two teams starts at the same venue on Tuesday.
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