Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st T20I, Sydney January 26, 2013

Sri Lanka take 1-0 lead despite Warner


Sri Lanka 5 for 138 (Mathews 35*) beat Australia 3 for 137 (Warner 90*, Voges 25*) by 5 wickets
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sri Lanka's collective effort was enough to overcome an Australian team that left far too much up to David Warner on their National Day with the visitors claiming a five-wicket victory on a pudding of a drop-in pitch at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

After their bowlers had been brilliantly supported in the field to restrict Australia to 3 for 137 - of which Warner made no fewer than 90 - the Sri Lankans made a rapid start to the chase and then steadied against the loss of mid-innings wickets to take a 1-0 lead with seven balls to spare.

Angelo Mathews showed the cool head that has him marked as his nation's long-term leader to finish off the innings. There were cameos, too, from Kushal Perera, Lahiru Thirimanne and Thisara Perera, all of whom will be happy that Sri Lanka cannot now lose this series after also tying the ODI matches.

Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera were both exemplary with the ball, though Kulasekara undid much of his good work by turfing the simplest of chances at deep midwicket when Warner had made only 69.

While there was no switch-hit of the kind he managed in this fixture against India last year, Warner's controlled aggression to bat through the innings was all the more admirable for the difficult surface on which he demonstrated it, and the relative lack of prowess shown by the rest.

Aaron Finch was again out cheaply at international level, while Shaun Marsh made an unhappy return to the national team in his first match since last summer, run out for only six. George Bailey also failed to make a score, leaving Adam Voges to offer inconspicuous but valuable support to Warner, who found it far easier than his team-mates to split the field and find the boundary.

Sri Lanka's pursuit began with speed and audacity, Tillakaratne Dilshan executed one of his trademark scoops from the bowling of Mitchell Starc so effectively that it sailed for six a few metres to the offside of the wicketkeeper. Kushal Perera was more orthodox, but struck the ball cleanly as Australia cast around for a momentum changer.

They found it in Ben Laughlin, recalled for his first T20 international since 2009. Known primarily for his slower ball variations, Laughlin squeezed a bouncer past Dilshan and into the gap between helmet and grille, forcing a delay while a cut above the eye was treated. The break disrupted Sri Lanka's flow, and it was Laughlin who took advantage in the field sprawling to grasp a Dilshan half-chance from Xavier Doherty.

The surface's sluggishness lent itself to bowlers not offering much pace, and Glenn Maxwell's introduction brought further wickets. Kushal Perera snicked an attempted cut behind, and Dinesh Chandimal was held at long off. Mahela Jayawardene played all around a flighted ball from Doherty, and when Thirimanne sliced Mitchell Starc to backward point the chase was drifting.

But Mathews played with calm and precision, while his opposite number Bailey seemed to miss a couple of tricks by not using Maxwell's full quota and also not calling on the quite respectable left-arm spin of Voges.

Laughlin's earlier heroics were to be overshadowed as Mathews took to him for critical boundaries to cut the target down, and Thisara Perera ended the contest with a pair of sixes from the same bowler, delighting the Sri Lankan minority in a crowd of 40,242.

Australia's earlier progress was laborious, the batsmen struggling for timing on a drop-in pitch that offered them little in the way of consistent pace. Finch's stay was ended when he tried to turn Kulasekara to the legside and proffered a front edge that was nicely held by Kushal Perera.

Marsh was soon back at the boundary's edge himself, run out by Dilshan's underarm after turning back on the most optimistic of singles, but Warner endured. Recognising the slowness of the surface, he stayed on the back foot for much of the time, punching shorter balls through the offside and only swinging straight at the fullest of deliveries.

It proved an effective method and, after Bailey perished to another mistimed stroke, Voges hung in to allow Warner to push Australia to a better total than they might have imagined at 3 for 53 after nine overs. Nonetheless, a total of 137 looked slim, and so it was to prove.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on January 29, 2013, 2:18 GMT

    @Udendra on (January 28 2013, 04:26 AM GMT) (& others), the Ch 9 commentry team may not be the greatest commentators ever, but they are commentating firstly for their OWN demographic. It is okay for them (majority being former OZZY TEST players), to take an Ozzy slant on issues & events. If I watched an Oz tour of SL where SL TV was beaming the commentry to Oz, I would ASSUME, that SL commentators would be pro-SL. Get over it. Ramp/dilscoop who cares, a wrong'un has several different names. @Okakaboka on (January 26 2013, 13:35 PM GMT) - would be so much better if you named your T20 said. BTW - you bag Bailey after he played a top knock!

  • malinda on January 28, 2013, 23:40 GMT

    Mind you all, T20 is the only cricket that is going to survive in another 20 years time.

  • Prashan on January 28, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    @Chris_P, yes mate you are correct if you are looking at the last year's CB tri series as well. I was just referring only to bilateral ODI series bwtween Sri Lanka and Australia.

  • David on January 28, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Yeah has to be said that Sri Lanka has the upper hand over Australia with the national passion for the game. 4 out of 5 at least kids i talk to in canberra find cricket boring and some dont even like any sports at all.Australia is just coming down to reality after having so many legends in the one team, now they have to work hard to earn their wins, especially in ODI and T20.

  • Graham on January 28, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Udendra, its been a ramp ror about 10 years long before Dilshan came up with it.

  • udendra on January 28, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    when Dilshan played that SCOOP for a six, the commentators were shouting about a 'ramp' or 'rump' or something. What is that? Dear Aus commentators, keep your words to yourself, and respect the accepted nomenclature elsewhere in the world.

  • Prashan on January 28, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    @siri12345, Looking at KP's domestic average he may still not be good on slow pitches and might love it when the ball comes fast just like Chandimal. Yes the way he got out in the 5th ODI is not fair considering the extremely slow pitch. The way he batted on when chasing 74 was great as he was our top scorer.

    If Kushal scores well today he will get an IPL deal for sure.

  • Peter on January 28, 2013, 0:21 GMT

    @Sinhaya. 3-2 in Sri Lanka, the CUB finals, & this 2-2 recent series. That are the last 3 matchups for the last 3 is it not?

  • Sirsak on January 27, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Yup sinhaya but leaving aside sanath bowling even if kp can only bat like 70 percent of sanath i feel we have found a genuine matchwinner for ourself.and i believe kp has it in him to deliver.and not only in fast pitches kp will surely succeed in asia too because he not only has the ability to attack the bowler but he has also shown that if the situation demands he is ready to stay at the wicket and only work on singles.actually he has successfully adapted to the situation in the last odi game and doing a fine job till he unfortunately got out

  • Prashan on January 27, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @siri12345, yes I agree. But not sure if Kushal Perera (KP) can make it to the test side sooner. For ODIs and T20s KP must open for sure. Even if he fails we must learn from Atapattu's early failures. But cant equate KP with Sanath cos Sanath was an all rounder where as he is a wicket keepeter batsman. I guess KP will do well on fast pitches like Chandimal.

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