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LIVE: Australia set themselves a tricky but manageable chase target of 259 to keep their five-game ODI streak alive after a sensational Charith Asalanka first century (110 from 106) guided Sri Lanka to a total of 258 races a plus to spare.

After entering the fray with his 4/135 team, Asalanka survived a close call in just one run when Pat Cummins cut his leg stump only for the sureties to stand still.

The 24-year-old – who will turn 25 in three days – tweaked his groin midway through the innings, saw three wickets fall at the other end and was forced to rein in his usually free nature, but gave a masterclass of patience and composure to post the highest score ever by a Sri Lankan No.5 against Australia.

However, Australia fought back at the death, claiming three cheap wickets in the 48th and 49th overs to end Sri Lanka’s innings prematurely – and well short of a total that could easily have topped 270 or 280.

Trailing 2-1 after three games in the ODI series, Australia must overcome Sri Lanka’s bowling-heavy formation to claim victory on a dew-covered and tricky pitch in Colombo.

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Australia XI:

Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (wk), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Pat Cummins, Matthew Kuhnemann, Josh Hazlewood

Sri Lanka XI: Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Dasun Shanaka (c), Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dunith Wellalage, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana


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Desperate to bounce back from a crushing six-wicket defeat to record Sri Lanka in the third ODI, Australia won the coin toss and opted to play first, having struggled to play in wet conditions last time.

Despite the failure of part-time Australian spinners to make an impact in the previous game at the same Colombo ground, the selectors decided not to include spinner Mitchell Swepson, instead re-introducing only Pat Cummins for Jhye Richardson.

Australia got off to a dream start on the pitch, claiming a trio of wickets in the first 10 overs – with three different bowlers claiming a wicket in their first overs.

First, Glenn Maxwell brought down Niroshan Dickwella (1) in the second half of the match. Then in the seventh over, Pat Cummins came into the attack and knocked down the dangerous Kusal Mendis on a thick inside edge, leaving Sri Lanka 2-26.

Pat Cummins was brutally unlucky to miss a wicket.
Pat Cummins was brutally unlucky to miss a wicket.Source: FOX SPORTS

Shortly after, Mitch Marsh had the impressive Pathum Nissanka – who scored a century in the third ODI – trailed for just 13 after an outside edge gave gifted glove-maker Alex Carey a simple catch.

After 10 overs, Sri Lanka was 3-35. But Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka steadied the ship and soon had Australia on the back foot as visitors fled across borders. However, Asalanka was lucky not to be fired for a single run, after watching Pat Cummins cut his leg stump just so the bail wouldn’t drop – the second time in the first 11 overs that went on. produced, after a Kuhnemann ball deflected earlier into the wickets. .

Dhananjaya and Asalanka notched a 100-point partnership from as many balls, before Mitch Marsh halted their momentum with a crucial second wicket from Dhananjaya (60 from 61) courtesy of a superb catch from Glenn Maxwell.

Charith Asalanka passed 50, before running down captain Shanaka (4) the next ball, leaving Sri Lanka 5-150 with just over 20 overs to play. Asalanka then added a 50-run partnership with 19-year-old Dunith Wellalage as Sri Lanka broke the 200-run mark with 10 overs to go.

Wellalage was caught in deep spinner Matthew Kuhnemann on 19 of 35, trying to up the pace in the innings, with Sri Lanka 6-207 in the 41st. Kuhnemann quickly bagged a brace when he had Chamika Karunaratne LBW (7) in the review, glover Alex Carey convincing his captain Aaron Finch to turn to the DRS.

Asalanka raised her first 100 on just 99 balls, before falling for 110 of 106 on the 48th. He was obviously tired from his efforts in oppressive conditions and was caught long by Aaron Finch on a slower ball from Cummins.

Jeffrey Vandersay was knocked out (0 from 2) by Cummins from deep after a bad run between the wickets, before Sri Lanka last batter Maheesh Theekshana made an incredibly bad decision to attempt a run on the last ball of the 49th over. Sri Lanka’s all-round superstar Wanindu Hasaranga had returned from injury and exploded 21* from 20, and was down waiting for Theekshana to block the final over ball so Hasaranga could strike for the final over of the sleeves.

Theekshana foolishly attempted a run and was knocked out by substitute Mitchell Swepson, ending the innings once prematurely.

Pat Cummins finished with 2/37 of his nine overs to go with a run out, while Mitch Marsh had 2/29 from seven overs. Matthew Kuhnemann had 2/56 from eight overs. Josh Hazlewood played better than his 10/45 numbers suggested.

Sri Lanka v Australia 3rd ODI Highlights | 06:54


The hosts lead the series 2-1 after a dominating performance saw them comfortably chase Australia’s 291, earning back-to-back ODI wins for the first time against Australia since 2013.

Now Sri Lanka are eyeing a win that would seal a first bilateral ODI series win against Australia on home soil since 1992.

Pat Cummins replaced Jhye Richardson in the only change from last game. It meant there was no room for spinner Mitchell Swepson, despite Australia’s decision to go only with the inexperienced Matthew Kuhnemann (0/61 from 10 overs) which backfired from dramatically the last time.

“We’ve had quite a few injuries throughout the tour,” Finch said, adding the team “is going to have to be” comfortable with a crowd of versatile players.

The dew on the pitch played a key role in Sri Lanka’s pursuit in the third ODI, with a wetter ball spinning less and skidding on the bat on the evening.

In response, Australia opted to play first after winning the coin toss. “We need to improve the chase in these conditions,” said Aaron Finch, saying it was a priority in the team’s long-term development ahead of next year’s World Cup.

For Sri Lanka, superstar Wanindu Hasaranga has returned from a groin injury, having missed the last two games. He replaced injured fast Dushmantha Chameera (ankle) as the only change in Sri Lanka’s XI, leaving the hosts with NO front row bowlers and four full spinners.

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