Australia wrapped up the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka with a six-wicket win at Manuka Oval. Three wickets from Kane Richardson restricted Sri Lanka to 121-6, a target the hosts cruised past thanks to a 50-run partnership between Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell.
Australia reached 124-4 in 16.5 overs, with Marcus Stoinis (12 not out) hitting the winning runs for the second straight game. The win gives Australia a 3-0 series lead ahead of the final two games in Melbourne.
Man-of-the-match Richardson took 3-21, including two wickets in his first over. “I wasn’t at my best the other night so it was nice to bounce back. I think bowling first suits my strengths,” Richardson said.
“[In] T20 cricket, you don’t always look at the result, you just want to know that what you did was executed as best as you can. The length I bowled the other night was a little bit too full.”
Maxwell survived chances on zero, nine and 22 to thrash 39 off 25 balls, with a monstrous switch-hit six the highlight of the chase. Finch, not opening the batting for just the ninth time in his 86-match T20I career, played patiently for his 35 off 36 balls.
Ben McDermott fell in the first ball of the innings, nicking spinner Maheesh Theekshana to slip, while makeshift opener Ashton Agar made 13 before he was out lbw. After Maxwell holed out to deep mid-wicket, Josh Inglis continued his fine form making 21 not out, helping Australia seal the win with 19 balls remaining.
Theekshana was Sri Lanka’s best with the ball, taking 3-24 off four overs. Sri Lanka lost paceman Nuwan Thushara after just seven balls of his spell with a side injury. Earlier, stifling bowling limited Sri Lanka to 121-6, at one stage denying the hapless visitors a boundary for six straight overs.
Captain Dasun Shanaka hit an unbeaten 39 and Pathum Nissanka chipped in with 16 before he was dismissed by a staggering diving catch from Daniel Sams. Besides Richardson, Agar also impressed with 1-14 from his four overs.
Captain Finch said the restructured side – missing Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa – showed the available depth.
“That’s just a strategic thing … if we want to change the way that we structure up our side to potentially play two quicks, two spinners and a few all-rounders, we’re probably going to have to look at structuring up the game that way a little bit,” he said.
“Not necessarily with [Agar] at the top all the time, but we still feel as though having seven genuine batters is really important.”