Sri Lanka beat Australia in ill-tempered clash, win T20 series
Thisara Perera produced an outstanding all-round performance to help Sri Lanka to a three-run win over Australia in a rain-affected Twenty20 international today, securing a 2-0 victory in the series that sparked animosity between the two sides.
Sri Lanka won an ill-tempered and rain-shortened final T20 international against Australia off the last ball at the MCG on Monday.
Thisara Perera was the star for the visitors, turning in an outstanding all-round performance to help Sri Lanka win. After making a hard-hitting unbeaten 35 in Sri Lanka's innings of 161-4, bolstered by Mahela Jayawardene's 61 not out, Perera bowled a pressure-laden final over to give his team victory under the Duckworth-Lewis system.
Australia needed 18 runs from Perera's final over to win the match, after being set a revised target of 122 from 15 overs following a lengthy rain delay.
The chase came down to four runs from the last ball but Perera produced a dot ball, after conceding consecutive boundaries from his two previous deliveries, to take the match and the series.
However, the match ended with angry scenes as players from both teams clashed verbally, even during the traditional congratulatory handshakes.
The tourists scored 161 for four wickets off their 20 overs but a shower which interrupted the home side's innings reduced the match by five overs.
That left Australia with a revised victory target of 122 off 15 overs -- meaning they needed 62 more off 30 balls with eight wickets in hand as play resumed after the rain.
The hosts finished on 119 for three after a tense final over which began with them needing 18 for victory.
Skipper George Bailey was caught for 45 off 36 balls with 16 more needed from the final four.
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell came in, requiring 12 runs off the last three, and smashed consecutive fours off Thisara Perera.
However the bowler recovered his composure to control the last delivery after lengthy consultations with teammates.
The time taken to bowl that last ball sparked some ugly on-field exchanges and ex-skipper Mahela Jayawardene was in the thick of it before Bailey restored some calm.
Jayawardene had earlier cracked an unbeaten 61 from 45 balls in a well-built innings.
He came in with the tourists in trouble on just 39 after Australia had snared three early wickets by the seventh over.
But Jayawardene opened up in the final overs, striking two sixes and five fours. He was ably assisted by the big-hitting Perera, who plundered 35 off just 15 balls.
The pair took 20 runs off the last over.
Australia, a young side building for the future and facing the world's top T20 outfit, also lost early wickets. David Warner fell for seven and Aaron Finch went for the same score in the fifth over.
The tourists won the first match by five wickets at the Sydney Olympic Stadium on Saturday night.
Sri Lanka and Australia drew the one-day series 2-2 after Australia swept the Tests 3-0.