James Faulkner has become just the sixth Australian to take a one-day international hat-trick after he snared three crucial wickets late in Sri Lanka’s innings in the second ODI in Colombo.
Faulkner returned to the bowling crease in the ‘death’ overs to devastating effect, including removing half-century makers Kusal Perera (54) and Angelo Mathews (57) to end their 103-run sixth-wicket partnership.
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The allrounder combined with Mitchell Starc to apply the brakes at the end of the Sri Lanka innings, after Kusal Mendis (69) and Dinesh Chandimal (48) combined to set a strong platform for the hosts.
With Mathews and Perera set at the crease with their side 5-261 with 4.1 overs remaining, a total in excess of 300 appeared within reach.
But Faulkner’s clever death-bowling restricted Sri Lanka, as he and Starc claimed five wickets in 18 balls to bowl the home side out with seven deliveries remaining.
Faulkner joins Bruce Reid, Anthony Stuart, Brett Lee, Clint McKay and Dan Christian as bowlers to take a ODI hat-trick.
The left-armer’s haul at the R. Premadasa Stadium makes him the 41st man to achieve the feat.
Faulkner begun Sri Lanka’s collapse when he trapped a reverse-sweeping Perera in front on the final ball of his eighth over.
He struck again on the first delivery of his next over when Angelo Mathews holed out to Moises Henriques at long-off.
The 26-year-old then sealed the milestone when a back-of-the-hand slower ball clipped the bails of Thisara Perera, sending Faulkner into somewhat muted celebrations.
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He finished with 3-45 from his nine overs, as Starc denied Faulkner the chance of adding to his wicket tally as he ended Sri Lanka’s innings in the penultimate over.
Faulkner’s impressive showing follows on from the first ODI where he was the pick of the Australian bowlers with 4-38 in their three-wicket victory.
His hat-trick in Colombo was eerily similar to one he took for Lancashire in a County Championship match against Leicestershire last year.
On that occasion, he also picked up a wicket with the final ball of an over, before striking twice on the first two balls of his next over.