Cricket news: Australia lose to Sri Lanka, down 3-1 in ODI series

David Warner came agonisingly close to a century but Australia wasn’t able to chase down Sri Lanka’s modest total in Colombo going down in the match, and the ODI series.

Skipper Dasun Shanaka said Sri Lanka’s four-run series clinching win over Australia on Tuesday was “much needed” for the island nation, which battles its worst ever economic crisis.

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Charith Asalanka made 110 to guide Sri Lanka to 258 all out, a total that proved just enough to hand the hosts an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series in Colombo.

Spinners combined to bowl out Australia for 254 as Sri Lanka won its first bi-lateral series against the Aussies in over a decade. They last won in 2010.

The near-capacity crowd at the R. Premadasa Stadium stood up to applaud in an expression of joy that comes amid a grim economic situation in the country with acute shortages of essentials including food, fuel and medicines.

“Not only for me, my teammates, Sri Lanka cricket, the whole country, this is much needed at the moment,” Shanaka said after the win. “I think this should be celebrated by the whole of Sri Lanka.” The cricketing achievement comes as Sri Lanka’s economy has collapsed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with a nosedive in tourism revenues and foreign worker remittances.

Charith Asalanka scored a match winning century for Sri Lanka. Picture: Getty Images
Charith Asalanka scored a match winning century for Sri Lanka. Picture: Getty Images

Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay and fast bowler Chamika Karunaratne, who was the only regular seamer in the team, took two wickets each.

Pat Cummins’ late cameo of 35 and a 12-ball 15 by number 10 Matthew Kuhnemann, who hit three fours as Australia needed 19 from the 50th over, gave Sri Lanka a scare.

Earlier Asalanka rescued Sri Lanka from a precarious 34-3 as he put on 101 runs with Dhananjaya de Silva, who made 60.

Australian bowlers kept coming back with crucial wickets but Asalanka reached his century to the cheers of a raucous home crowd that jumped to their feet to applaud the knock.

Wanindu Hasaranga played a useful cameo of 21 not out as he put together 34 runs for the eighth wicket with Asalanka.

Asalanka finally fell to Cummins and Australia soon wrapped up the innings in 49 overs with two run outs.

In reply, Australia lost skipper Aaron Finch for nought with Karunaratne trapping the opener lbw.

Warner kept his cool and put on 63 runs with Mitchell Marsh who looked good for his 26 before he fell to Dunith Wellalage’s left-arm spin.

Australia lost Marnus Labuschagne and wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey after they got starts but fell to the Sri Lankan spinners.

The usually attacking Warner held fort to try and grind down the opposition attack as he got Travis Head for company and the two stitched together 58 runs for the fifth wicket.

De Silva bowled the left-handed Head for 27 and Maheesh Theekshana got Glenn Maxwell trapped lbw for one with a successful review after the on-field umpire denied the appeal.

But the big moment came when the left-handed Warner missed out on his ton after getting stumped off de Silva as the home team celebrated the key wicket.

With 99, David Warner was the only Australia batter who looked like taking the game away from Sri Lanka. Picture: AFP
With 99, David Warner was the only Australia batter who looked like taking the game away from Sri Lanka. Picture: AFP

“If someone had played for David Warner for five or six more overs that could have been a match-winning partnership,” said Finch.

Cameron Green and Cummins attempted to turn the chase on in a 31-run stand but Vandersay bowled Green.

Cummins departed in the 49th over but Kuhnemann fought till the end before getting out on the final ball.

The final match is on Friday at the same venue

Former Aussie spinner predicts Test future for ODI debutant

Australia’s latest international debutant Matthew Kuhnemann paid for his own flight to Sydney to seek the wisdom of former Test spinner Stephen O’Keefe before departing for Sri Lanka … and already it has proven money well spent.

Kuhnemann was handed a dream one-day international debut, taking an early wicket and a catch and bowling in tandem with fellow Queenslander Mitchell Swepson on Thursday night – surely one of the first times in the history of the game a state renowned for fast bowlers had provided two spinners in an Australian XI.

The 25-year-old was only meant to be in Sri Lanka with Australia A, but his decision to reach out to O’Keefe to help finetune his preparations for subcontinental conditions has paid dividends now that Ashton Agar’s injury has opened the door for Kuhnemann to not only be called into the 50-over side, but potentially a call-up to Australia’s Test squad.

Another Queensland buddy in Marnus Labuschagne presented Kuhnemann with his ODI cap in Pallekele, fitting because it was Labuschagne who passed on O’Keefe’s number to spark an unlikely alliance across state lines between two left-armers.

“I’d seen him over the last couple of years after BBL games and he’d come up and we’d have a bit of a chat. And each game he would come up with a little bit more and it would trigger a bit of a conversation,” O’Keefe told News Corp.

“Then before we (Sydney Sixers) played the Brisbane Heat at the Gabba in a T20 match, he said, ‘can we have a bowl before the game?’

“I think if he’d asked me about 10 years ago I would have told him to piss off, but I could just tell this kid was really polite, he wanted to learn.

“(Before he left for Sri Lanka) he said he was going to be in Sydney and could we go and have a bowl.

“I said, ‘I live in Manly, I can get us access to some synthetic nets, I don’t know if that’s going to help you or not.’

Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann (R) celebrates with teammate Alex Carey after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka.
Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann (R) celebrates with teammate Alex Carey after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's Pathum Nissanka.

“And he said, ‘I’d love to come over.’ And we just had a bowl and a chat. A lot of it was standing there bowling off one step, just chatting to each other about different releases, different grips, what the conditions might be like and just getting to know each other mainly and getting to understand each other’s games and see if there’s anything that clicks.

“I’m flattered he came to me. He’s twice the bowler I am and I’ve got 10 years on him.”

Kuhnemann was the leading spin wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield this summer just gone and looked entirely at home on international debut as Australian captain Aaron Finch threw him the new ball.

If Agar can’t recover from a side injury, it would appear likely Kuhnemann would be the frontrunner to be called into the Australian squad and be an outside chance of a stunning Test debut in the series starting in a fortnight’s time.

Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann pulls off an athletic stop.
Australia's Matthew Kuhnemann pulls off an athletic stop.

O’Keefe has experience bowling in tandem with Nathan Lyon in the subcontinent and had enormous personal success on the Test tour of India in 2017 – and Kuhnemann has been impressed by the Sixers’ veteran’s advice and support.

The meteoric rise of the Gold Coast University student does not shock O’Keefe who was delighted to hear of Kuhnemann’s debut on Thursday night.

“Don’t be surprised to see him playing Test cricket for Australia,” said O’Keefe.

“I think he’s got it all. He’s got the right attitude, the right mentality and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s happened this quickly.

“He’s got a really high understanding of the game, he’s got a great stock ball. And then he has an eagerness to learn, he’s like a sponge.

“Skill wise, I think his ability to bowl to left-handers over the wicket is one of his strengths and he puts plenty of work on the ball.”

AUSSIES ROCKED BY DOUBLE INJURY BLOW

Australia’s injury woes in Sri Lanka deepened Wednesday with all-rounder Marcus Stoinis ruled out of the rest of the ODI series and spinner Ashton Agar also joining the wounded list.

Fast bowler Kane Richardson has already flown home with a hamstring problem and Mitchell Starc, Sean Abbott and Mitchell Marsh are also out of action and Cameron Green not fit enough to bowl.

Stoinis strained his side smashing 44 off 31 in Tuesday’s two-wicket win in Pallekele and Cricket Australia said Wednesday that the 32-year-old will play no further part in the five-match series.

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Agar also got hurt as he took two wickets but “will remain with the squad to continue to rehabilitate and ongoing assessment,” a statement said.

Batsman and part-time spinner Travis Head and left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, currently playing a four-day Australia A match in Hambantota, will join the ODI squad on Thursday.

Speaking before the announcement, Test skipper Pat Cummins — who played his first ODI in 18 months on Tuesday — said that Australia still have “plenty of options”.

“All the planning was going to be for a perfect preparation, we had the Aussie A team over here, a big squad, but there were always going to be things that crop up,” Cummins said on the eve of the second one-day international.

Marcus Stoinis has been injured.
Marcus Stoinis has been injured.

“It’s not ideal, the amount of injuries, but we will strike that balance,” said the 29-year-old Cummins.

“Scott Boland has come in, hopefully Starcy (Mitchell Starc) will be back soon, Mitch Marsh back bowling, Cam Green back bowling,” Cummins said.

“It feels like we still have plenty of options.” After the ODI series Australia are also due to play two Tests in Sri Lanka in Galle from June 29.

“National selectors will continue to monitor the squad through the ODI series before deciding if any changes need to be made ahead of the two Test matches in Galle,” Cricket Australia said.

Asked about a new $6.2 billion mega-deal for the broadcast rights for the Indian Premier League, Cummins said it was “great for the game”.

“It shows millions and millions of fans are out there that love watching cricket,” said Cummins, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the recently concluded IPL.

Ashton Agar comes close to a wicket against Sri Lanka.
Ashton Agar comes close to a wicket against Sri Lanka.

MAXWELL POWER LAUNCHES AUSSIES TO VICTORY

Glenn Maxwell’s unbeaten 80 helped Australia chase down a rain-revised target of 282 runs and beat hosts Sri Lanka by two wickets on Tuesday.

The visitors started out chasing a total of 301 in 50 overs but a 90-minute rain break reduced the innings to 44 overs with the visitors requiring 282 under DLS at Pallekele.

Maxwell smashed six fours and six sixes to score 80 not out off 51 balls after the visitors stuttered against the bowling of spinner Wanindu Hasaranga who bagged four wickets.

Australia lost opener David Warner for a duck in the second over, leg before wicket to Maheesh Theekshana.

Australia's Glenn Maxwell smashed an ubeatedn 80. Picture: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP
Australia's Glenn Maxwell smashed an ubeatedn 80. Picture: Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

Fellow opener Aaron Finch scored 44 off 41 balls before he was caught behind by Kusal Mendis off Hasaranga.

When rain halted play, the visitors were 73 for two with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne at the crease.

After play resumed, Labuschagne fell for 24. Marcus Stoinis scored 44 off 31 balls. Smith made 53 before he was clean bowled by Dunith Wellalage.

Alex Carey scored a quick 21 off 22 balls and Pat Cummins, playing his first ODI after 18 months with an injury, fell for a duck.

But Maxwell saw his team home, ending the match with two consecutive sixes. “I tried to be there as long as I could. I thought it was a good opportunity to get the run rate down against the young spinner,” Maxwell said.

Alex Carey sweeps the ball. Picture: Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP)
Alex Carey sweeps the ball. Picture: Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP)

Sri Lankan skipper Dusan Shanaka bemoaned too many short balls and full tosses. “300 is a winning total on this ground, but our bowling cost us the game,” Shanaka said.

Earlier in the day, the hosts began their innings with solid batting performances by openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka, who scored half centuries in their opening stand of 115.

Both men hammered an Australian fast-bowling attack plagued by injuries before the visitors caught Gunathilaka short of his crease with a direct hit by Stoinis.

Nissanka top-edged a reverse sweep to Ashton Agar to hand Finch a simple catch two overs later.

Glenn Maxwell of Australia is congratulated by Dunith Wellalage after Australia winning the match. Picture: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images
Glenn Maxwell of Australia is congratulated by Dunith Wellalage after Australia winning the match. Picture: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

Mendis anchored the innings with an unbeaten 86 off 87 balls to take the hosts to 300.

Shanaka, who stunned the visitors in the final Twenty20 international on Saturday, could only score six.

A quick-fire 37 off 19 balls by Hasaranga helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total.

Spinners Labuschagne and Agar took two wickets each.

Fast bowler Cummins was wicketless and conceded 48 runs in eight overs. Australia have suffered setbacks with lead bowlers rested from the tour including Kane Richardson, who returned home on Sunday after injuring a hamstring in the last T20 international.

The second ODI on Thursday is at the same venue.

SCOREBOARD

Sri Lanka

Danushka Gunathilaka run out (Stoinis/Carey) 55

Pathum Nissanka c Finch b Agar 56

Kusal Mendis not out 86

Dhananjaya de Silva c Finch b J Richardson 7

Charith Asalanka c Warner b Agar 37

Dasun Shanaka c Warner b Labuschagne 6

Chamika Karunaratne c Carey b Labuschagne 7

Wanindu Hasaranga c Richardson b Hazelwood 37

Extras: (b1, lb2, w6) 9

Total: (7 wickets, 50 overs) 300

Did not bat: Dushmantha Chameera, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana

Fall of wickets: 1-115 (Gunathilaka), 2-118 (Nissanka), 3-134 (de Silva), 4-211 (Asalanka), 5-240 (Shanaka), 6-258 (Karunaratne), 7-300 (Hasaranga)

Bowling: Hazlewood 10-0-54-1, Maxwell 10-0-60-0, Cummins 8-1-48-0, J Richardson 8-0-64-1, Agar 10-0-49-2, Stoinis 1-0-3-0, Labuschagne 3-0-19-2

Australia (DLS target: 282 from 44 overs)

D. Warner lbw b Theekshana 0

A. Finch c Mendis b Hasaranga 44

S. Smith b Wellalage 53

M. Labuschagnec c Wellalage b Shanaka 24

M. Stoinis b Hasaranga 44

A. Carey lbw b Hasaranga 21

G. Maxwell not out 80

P. Cummins b Hasaranga 0

A. Agar lbw b Wellalage 3

J. Richardson not out 1

Extras: (b6, lb1, w5) 12

Total: (8 wickets, 42.3 overs 282

Did not bat: Josh Hazlewood

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Warner), 2-72 (Finch), 3-126 (Labuschagne), 4-141 (Smith), 5-189 (Stoinis) 6-228 (Carey), 7-228 (Cummins), 8-254 (Agar)

Bowling: Dushmantha Chameera 7.3-0-60-0, Maheesh Theekshana 8-0-51-1, Chamika Karunaratne 4-0-16-0, Wanindu Hasaranga 9-0-58-4, Dunith Wellalage 7-0-49-2, Dhananjaya de Silva 3-0-14-0, Dasun Shanaka 4-0-27-1

Result: Australia won by two wickets (DLS)

Toss: Sri Lanka Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI) and Ruchira Palliyaguruge (SRI) TV umpire: Lyndon Hannibal Match referee: Ranjan Madugalleafp

Originally published as Cricket news: Australia lose to Sri Lanka, down 3-1 in ODI series

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