Wicketkeeper Alex Carey’s unbeaten 45 and an inspired bowling performance helped Australia to a four-wicket consolation win over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final one-day international (ODI) yesterday.
Australia bowled out the hosts for 160, a potentially tricky total on a bowling-friendly Colombo pitch which the tourists overhauled with 10.3 overs to spare.
Fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and spinner Matthew Kuhnemann took two wickets each.
Chamika Karunaratne hit a valiant 75 for Sri Lanka, who won the five-match series 3-2 after they had taken an unassailable lead following the fourth match.
Australia were in trouble at 50-4 before the left-handed Carey and Marnus Labuschagne, who made 31, put on a key stand of 51.
“We understand where our shortcomings come. No secret that we tend to struggle a little bit more in these conditions when they (pitches) are turning big,” said Finch who is not part of the Test team that will next take on the hosts in a two-match series starting next week.
“I think the confidence in the group to get over the line in a tight run chase, albeit only 160-odd, was still really important. Alex Carey played a real crucial knock with Cameron (Green) driving us home.”
Teenage left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage took three wickets including David Warner, for 10, and Glenn Maxwell, for 16, but the left-handed Carey kept his calm.
Earlier Sri Lanka slipped to 85-8 before Karunaratne, who improved on his previous ODI best of 44 not out, and debutant Pramod Madushan put on a stubborn stand of 58 for the ninth wicket.
“It (today’s loss) is disappointing, but we need to keep pushing the boundaries. Glad with the way the guys performed in the series,” said Shanaka, whose side lost the T20 international series 2-1.
“We took the momentum from the last T20 game, that set the tone.”
Many Sri Lankan supporters wore Australia’s yellow and held banners thanking the tourists for visiting the island nation, which is battling an unprecedented economic crisis.
Finch in turn thanked the fans for being “amazing”.
The two teams now head to Galle for the Tests starting June 29.
D. Gunathilaka c Finch b Hazlewood 8
P. Nissanka c Carey b Hazlewood 2
K. Mendis hit wicket b Maxwell 26
D. Chandimal c Finch b Cummins 6
C. Asalanka run out 14
D. Shanaka b Kuhnemann 1
D. Wellalage c Cummins b Kuhnemann 4
C. Karunaratne c Carey b Cummins 75
J. Vandersay run out (Labuschagne) 4
P. Madushan c and b Green 15
M. Theekshana not out 2
Extras (w3) 3
Total (all out, 43.1 overs) 160
Fall of wickets: 1-9 (Nissanka), 2-12 (Gunathilaka), 3-34 (Chandimal), 4-56 (Asalanka), 5-56 (Mendis), 6-61 (Wellalage), 7-62 (Shanaka), 8-85 (Vandersay), 9-143 (Madushan), 10-160 (Karunaratne)
Bowling: Hazlewood 7-3-22-2, Maxwell 10-0-38-1, Kuhnemann 10-3-26-2, Cummins 6.1-1-22-2 (w1), Marsh 1-0-3-0, Labuschagne 7-1-36-0 (w1), Green 2-0-13-1 (w1)
Australia (target 161)
D. Warner c Gunathilaka b Wellalage 10
A. Finch c Asalanka b Theekshana 0
M. Marsh c Nissanka b Madushan 24
J. Inglis c Nissanka b Theekshana 5
M. Labuschagne lbw b D Wellalage 31
A. Carey not out 45
G. Maxwell b Wellalage 16
C. Green not out 25
Extras (w8) 8
Total (6 wickets, 39.3 overs) 164
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Finch), 2-14 (Warner), 3-19 (Inglis), 4-50 (Marsh), 5-101 (Labuschagne), 6-121 (Maxwell)
Bowling: Karunaratne 3-0-19-0 (w1), Theekshana 10-1-26-2 (w4), Wellalage 10-0-42-3 (w2), Vandersay 9.3-0-46-0, Madushan 3-0-13-1, Asalanka 4-0-18-0 (w1)
Series result: Sri Lanka won 3-2
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