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Debutant has day to remember but Aussie run chase falls flat in rain-ravaged contest

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Debutant has day to remember but Aussie run chase falls flat in rain-ravaged contest


Fast bowler Chamika Karunaratne led an inspired Sri Lankan attack to pull off a thrilling 26-run win over Australia in the rain-hit second one-day international on Thursday.

Chasing a rain-revised target of 216 in 43 overs, Australia suffered from regular wicket falls to get bowled out for 189 in 37.1 overs as Sri Lanka bounced back from their opening loss in the five-match series in Pallekele.

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Karunaratne returned figures of 3-47 including Steve Smith, for 28, and Glenn Maxwell, for 30, and was ably supported by fellow quick Dushmantha Chameera who got the final batsman to bring the raucous home crowd to its feet.

Spinners Dhananjaya de Silva, Dunith Wellalage and Chameera took two wickets each.

De Silva also scored 34 with the bat and put on 61 runs for the third wicket with Kusal Mendis, who made 36, to guide Sri Lanka to 220 for nine when rain forced play to stop and late end the innings.

Pat Cummins returned figures of 4-35 but his effort went in vain. Australia lost their openers Aaron Finch, on 14, and David Warner, on 37, to De Silva as the tourists faltered in their tricky chase on a seemingly tough pitch to bat.

Smith and Travis Head attempted to rebuild the innings and put together 31 runs before Karunaratne broke through.

Karunaratne got Smith for 28 and Wellalage’s two wickets of Head (23) and Marnus Labuchagne (18) in his two overs put the Aussies in trouble at 132-5.

Maxwell hit back to unsettle the bowlers in his brief stay at the wicket but finally mistimed a shot to get caught at cover off Karunaratne. He made 30 off 25 balls.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey was run out for 15 as wheels came off the Australian chase.

Earlier in the clash, Sri Lanka was wobbling following the loss of 7-103 through the middle overs, but its 10th-wicket partnership between Dushmantha Chameera and Maheesh Theekshana pulled the hosts towards a respectable total on a tricky wicket.

Pathum Nissanka (14) was the first batter to fall with a brilliantly flighted delivery from surprise debutant Matthew Kuhnemann drawing an outside edge.

Kuhnemann’s hot start continued in the ninth over when he was on the end of a great outfield catch that saw Pat Cummins dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka for 18.

MATCH CENTRE: Australia vs Sri Lanka, second ODI, live scoreboard


Dhananjaya de Silva rode his luck in an entertaining 34 off 41 balls but ramped a Cummins delivery into the path of keeper Alex Carey, who took a stunning one-handed catch high above his head.

Just three overs later, Kusal Mendis (36) was unlucky to float his attempted sweep shot straight back to Glenn Maxwell.

Charith Asalanka never got going in his 27-ball 13 as Maxwell turned the screws, taking another wicket as the batter picked out Kuhnemann in the deep.

Sri Lanka continued to collapse — and Kuhemann’s debut kept getting better — when Chamika Karunaratne holed out for 18 for the spinner’s second. Mitchell Swepson then took his first as Dasun Shanaka (34) skewed an attempted slog.

Jeffrey Vandersay (7) nicked off to Cummins in the 41st over to give the Test captain his third, before Dunith Wellalage (20) chopped on for the quick’s fourth.

Earlier, the first few overs saw David Warner make some uncharacteristic mistakes in the field. On back-to-back balls, he threw three overthrows, and then misfielded a simple ground ball to allow another three runs.

“This is so unusual,” Russell Arnold said in commentary.

Warner wasn’t the only one, however, with Australia making a number of errors in the field during the first half of the first innings.

“It’s been a bit sloppy in the field today,” Brad Haddin said in commentary. “Australia has just been a bit behind the game with their fielding.

“It’s been a bit lazy fielding. I know Australia prides itself on creating intensity in the field and making life uncomfortably for the opposition with the intensity they create inside that ring.”

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