Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch says the decision to leave Adam Zampa out of Sunday's second KFC T20 INTL was simply due to the wet conditions at Kardinia Park.
The leg-spinner was a surprise omission from Australia's side that lost a final-ball thriller in Geelong, and with it the series. Zampa was one of two changes to the team that had suffered another final-ball defeat in the opening match at the MCG on Friday night, with paceman Billy Stanlake also omitted as Ben Dunk and debutant quick Jhye Richardson came in.
Zampa was the pick of the Australian bowlers in the first game, taking 2-26 from his four-over spell and significantly slowing the Sri Lankan run rate after the tourists had made a rapid start.
The decision prompted some, including former Australian players David Hussey and Tom Moody as well as Zampa's assistant coach at the Melbourne Stars Trent Woodhill, to question why he had not kept his place in the XI.
Astonishing line up tonight.. Lack of understanding of the T20 game..A great selection of Bill Lawry to call the final stages though.— Michael Beer (@Beery19) February 19, 2017
But Finch said the heavy showers that fell in Geelong throughout Sunday morning and afternoon were behind the decision, with the final downpour of the day ending just an hour before the first ball was bowled.
"(It was) purely based on conditions with how wet it was," Finch said after the Aussies suffered another last-ball defeat.
"The ground was still very wet, the ball was coming back wet. That was the only reason."
It remains to be seen whether Zampa will return to the side in front of a home Adelaide Oval crowd for Wednesday's third and final game of the series, with Finch saying he would sit down with Australia's coaching staff over the coming days to analyse where things went wrong during a bowling innings that had looked firmly in control until the latter stages.
Sri Lanka fell to 5-40 in the fifth over in pursuit of Australia's 173 and despite the fighting efforts of Asela Gunaratne and Chamara Kapugedera, they still required 48 runs with just three overs to go.
But an incredibly difficult feat was made to look simple by Gunaratne, who struck 39 runs from the final 12 balls he faced to finish unbeaten on 84, sealing a series win for the tourists and consigning the Australians to a defeat Finch described as "tough to take".
"We thought we had enough runs and the way we bowled through the Power Play and the middle overs, I thought it was outstanding," Finch said.
"To get them five down early and then six down, I thought we were playing nicely there but the credit goes to Gunaratne, he played a hell of an innings.
"That was as good as striking as you'll see.
"To be able to hit it over fine leg and over mid-off, those are rare skills to be able to do both (is impressive).
"He hasn't mis-hit a ball in two games now.
"With the wicket, I thought we had enough runs.
"Did we have enough with the dimensions of the ground? It's hard to know if you have a guy like Gunaratne who hits it to unusual areas and exposes the short boundaries."