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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs Australia 4th ODI 2022

Sri Lanka 258 all out (Asalanka 110, de Silva 60, Marsh 2-29, Cummins 2-37, Kuhnemann 2-56) vs Australia

Charith Asalanka struck a maiden ODI hundred, and Dhananjaya de Silva breezed to 60, to raise Sri Lanka out of the mire they had been in at 34 for 3. But just as the innings had begun badly, it ended poorly as well – Sri Lanka losing three batters to mix-ups, and their last five wickets for 51 runs, leaving one over unused.

Still, the 101-run fourth-wicket stand between Asalanka and de Silva, plus Asalanka’s associations with Dunith Wellalage (57 runs for the sixth wicket), and Wanaindu Hasaranga (34 for the eighth) saw the hosts lurch their way to 258. On a dry Khettarama track, Sri Lanka might usually back themselves to defend such a score, particularly with four frontline spinners in their attack for this game.

However, their ace slow bowler Wanindu Hasaranga was seen limping badly through the last few overs of the innings, having likely re-injured his groin (the complaint had kept him out of the previous game). Hasaranga might not have played this game had seamer Dushmantha Chameera complained of a sore ankle before the match, ruling him out. It now remains to be seen if Hasaranga can take the field at all, for the defence of this competitive, but far from imposing total.
It was largely Australia’s quicks who did the damage, however, as they fielded just one specialist spinner in Matthew Kuhnemann. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh took two wickets apiece, and while Kuhnemann also claimed two, he did so going at seven an over, where Cummins and Marsh maintained economy rates of a little over four. The other spinner, Maxwell, had provided the first wicket, but conceded 6.12 per over.

Nevertheless, their fielding kept them in the game, and when Sri Lanka made mistakes while running between the wickets, Australia did not err.

Asalanka began nervously, in a period in which Australia’s quicks were dominant. He was almost out twice in his first six balls. Batting on 1, he shuffled too far across to Pat Cummins, whose delivery shaved leg stump, but not hard enough to dislodge the bails. Later that same over, Asalanka sliced a ball to backward point, who only barely failed to get his fingers underneath the ball.

There were plays and misses against both the quicks and spinners, and many of his first 20 runs were streaky. But while he was struggling, de Silva batted imperiously, lifting the spinners over the legside field with his slog sweep, flicking the quicks square, and sailing to his fifty off 52 balls. He kept the bowlers at bay until Asalanka finally settled – Asalanka batting at No. 5 pulled Cameron Green through midwicket to hit his first boundary off the 36th ball he faced. Just as Asalanka seemed to be getting the measure of the surface and Australia’s bowling, de Silva departed, mistiming a pull off Mitchell Marsh to be caught spectacularly by Glenn Maxwell reaching high into the air.

In the company of Wellalage, who made 19 off 35, Asalanka began to properly dominate. He found boundaries through the leg side with particular ease, peppering the midwicket area, and later even blasting a six over that boundary off the bowling of Cummins. Having taken 60 balls to get to fifty, he hit his next 50 off 39, to get to triple figures at just better than a run-a-ball.

When he and an aggressive Hasaranga were batting together it seemed as if a score in the range of 280 was not beyond Sri Lanka. But then he holed out to Cummins, trying to hit another six over midwicket. And Hasaranga’s injury (he was limping between ends) perhaps contributed to the miscommunications that saw Sri Lanka’s Nos. 10 and 11 essentially run themselves out. The last three wickets fell for just two runs.

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