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Asela Gunaratne scintillating 84-run knock helps Sri Lanka defeat Australia in second T20 at Melbourne

Asela Gunaratne Came Down The Order To Score A Scintillating 84 To Power Sri Lanka To A Last-ball Victory Against Australia On Sunday, Clinching The Ongoing Twenty 20 Series.

PTI | Updated on: 19 Feb 2017, 07:33:16 PM
Asela Gunaratne - File Photo (Getty)

New Delhi:

Asela Gunaratne came down the order to score a scintillating 84 to power Sri Lanka to a last-ball victory against Australia on Sunday, clinching their Twenty20 series.

Gunaratne assaulted the Australian bowlers with five sixes and six fours off 46 balls to get the Sri Lankans home by two wickets to scenes of wild jubilation at Geelong.

It was the second time the Sri Lankans had denied Australia victory off the last ball, with Chamara Kapugedera hammering a boundary to win Friday's opening match in Melbourne.

The Sri Lankans remain unbeaten in five T20Is in Australia, but this was their finest come-from-behind performance in front of their excited expatriate fans.

With four overs left Sri Lanka needed 52 to win but an undaunted Gunaratne tore into the Australian attack, slamming Moises Henriques for three consecutive sixes and a four and then taking two fours and a six off Andrew Tye's final over.

The bashful Gunaratne only offered a few words "It is a very happy moment" -- before dashing away from his post-match man-of-the-match presentation.

The series may be decided but there is one match to play, in Adelaide on Wednesday, with the Sri Lankans eyeing a clean sweep.

The Australians could not believe what they were seeingafter having the tourists struggling at 40 for five in thefifth over and going nowhere fast.

But Gunaratne, who bludgeoned 52 off 37 balls in thefirst game in Melbourne, hit out spectacularly whileKapugedera chipped in with a run-a-ball 32.

Henriques earlier hit his first T20 internationalhalf-century to steer Australia to 173 after they were sent into bat by Sri Lanka. The big-hitting all-rounder was left unbeaten on 56 from37 balls when the last wicket fell off the final ball.

Veteran Nuwan Kulasekara captured three wickets in thefinal over to keep the dangerous Henriques away from thestrike and restrict the Australia score. He finished with fourfor 31 from four overs.

Australia began strongly, with Michael Klinger slamming 43 off 37 balls and the promoted Ben Dunk 32 off only 14 balls.     Dilshan Munaweera's one over cost 22 runs, with Dunkclouting him for three sixes and a four.

Sri Lanka did not help their cause with a few dropped catches. Kapugedera put down Henriques when he was on 19.

But Milinda Siriwardana took a superb diving catch atlong-off to dismiss Ashton Turner for seven. Australia made two changes, with fast bowler Jhye Richardson making his debut and Dunk called in to bolster the top order.

Fast bowler Billy Stanlake was dropped along with thelegspinner Adam Zampa. Sri Lanka made one change to the team that won inMelbourne on Friday, bringing in batsman Kusal Mendis at theexpense of left-arm wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan. 

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First Published : 19 Feb 2017, 06:54:00 PM