Gillette T20 INTL Series v Sri Lanka
Warner's birthday present secures record win
Birthday boy scores maiden T20 International century as Australia blaze their highest-ever score on home soil before their bowlers secure 134-run win
Andrew Ramsey at Adelaide Oval
27 October 2019, 05:58 PM AEST
Australia 3-233 (Warner 100 not out, Finch 64, Maxwell 62) beat Sri Lanka 9-99 (Zampa 3-14, Starc 2-18) by 134 runs
The match in a tweet
Birthday boy David Warner's first T20I century takes the cake as Australia celebrate start of international men's season with record-breaking win over Sri Lanka
Australia’s victory margin of 134 runs is the third-highest in T20 Internationals between two Full Member nations, and smashes their previous record of 100 runs against Zimbabwe last year
David Warner began his return to T20 international cricket to the tune of his teammates' chorus, acknowledging him turning 33 today. He ended his first innings in Australian colours on home soil since his suspension with the Adelaide Oval, and much of the nation, singing his praises.
Warner had warmed up for today's ton by alternating his batting stance between left and right-handed in the Adelaide Oval nets on match eve. And there were times during his 56-ball, unbeaten 100 that he brought out his party tricks.
In the main, however, Warner's first T20 international hundred (in his 71st match) was brutally conventional. The crispness of his hitting down the ground, and the timing he produced in punching the ball through and over the off-side rendered his recent Ashes Test match struggles a distant memory.
In the end, the toughest call Warner faced came from the final ball of Australia's innings which he faced on 99. He opted against risking his wicket with one last big shot, and opted instead for a certain single to register three figures.
Before he uncorked a euphoric leap, and a birthday memory to treasure.
The support acts
Warner might have dominated the headlines and the highlights with his maiden T20I century, but there was no shortage of memorable moments provided by his teammates.
The century opening stand with Aaron Finch at one stage had fans wondering if both openers might go on to plunder hundreds in the men's international season opener.
Then, when Finch departed for 64, Glenn Maxwell threatened to upstage Warner with the sheer audacity of his stroke play.
Ever the innovator, Maxwell reeled off a sequence of often breathtaking, occasionally bizarre shots as he raced to 62 from just 28 deliveries. That repertoire included deft back-handed dabs as he glided the ball into gaps behind the keeper, and extraordinary shovel shots that sent near yorkers beyond the fence.
One of which saw him tumble backwards on to the pitch during its execution.
The crowning glory was his trademark helicopter shot, in which the bat seems to swing full circle. But from which the ball invariably hit the middle and landed among the Adelaide Oval members.
The record that mattered
Among the myriad numerical firsts that kept cricket statisticians in overdrive, the one that likely stood out most in the Australia dressing room was the total of 2-233.
Not only did that represent the men's team's highest T20 international total on home soil – and fourth-highest in all T20 appearances since the format was first played in 2005 – it fitted the template Australia aspires to.
As skipper Aaron Finch noted on match eve, between now and the T20 World Cup on home soil next year, they want to attack the game from ball one with the bat, and take opposition wickets during the six-over power play.
After their first six overs at the crease, Australia were 0-57 and on record pace. At the same point of their reply, Sri Lanka were 3-29 and in disarray.
Only Warner and Shane Watson (34) have opened for Australia more times in T20 internationals than Warner and Finch (now 15). But the last occasion the current first-wicket pair combined their hitting power in national colours was against India in Guahati two years ago.
It didn't take them long to regain their synchronicity.
From the moment Finch punched the second delivery of the innings from Lasith Malinga to the extra cover boundary, the tone was set. Warner and Finch went boundary-for-boundary and celebrated their 50 stand with another Finch four in the fifth over.
It was one of multiple celebrations at the expense of seamer Kasun Rajitha (whose third over cost 25 runs) as Finch (off 31 balls) and then Warner (28 balls) each notched their half-centuries with towering sixes.
The century partnership arrived from just 51 balls, and was sealed with a hug between the batters.
It was also the first 100-plus opening stand Australia have posted in T20I matches since Finch and D'Arcy Short blasted 223 from Zimbabwe's shell-shocked bowlers in Harare last year.
By the time Finch holed out for 64 (off 36), Australia were 1-122 in the 11th over and eyeing a formidable score.
The unwanted record
Apart from Australia's free-wheeling batters, the player most enjoying today's run glut was Turkish seamer Tunahan Turan. Until this afternoon in Adelaide, the 21-year-old held the dubious distinction of returning the most expensive four-over bowling spell in T20 matches played at international level.
Turan's 1-71 came last August, in a Romania Cup fixture against fellow developing team Czech Republic at Ilfov County ground in Romania. If Turan feared he would remain a trivia question answer for the rest of his playing career and beyond, he can rest easy after Sri Lanka quick Kasun Rajitha's horror spell in Adelaide.
Playing his fourth T20 international, 26-year-old Rajitha finished with 0-75 alongside his name and an unwanted place in cricket history. Rajitha had already endured a tough start to his maiden Australia tour, when the wide he delivered with a slippery ball provided the winning run for Prime Minister's XI in Canberra last week.
Until today, the most expensive T20I spell by a bowler representing a Test nation was South African Kyle Abbott's 1-68 against West Indies at Wanderers in 2015.
Australia's run rampage heaped pressure on every Sri Lankan, including their habitually unflappable skipper Lasith Malinga.
The veteran quick, who so famously held his nerve to deliver Mumbai Indians glory in this year's Indian Premier League final, unleashed one of his trademark slower balls in a bid to quell Glenn Maxwell's run spree, as the home team barrelled towards 200.
But the ball slipped from Malinga's fingers, and his unique side-arm action sent it not only way past Maxwell' back, it landed on the adjacent Adelaide Oval pitch that is being prepared for next-month's second Test against Pakistan.
The run chase
Sri Lanka's pursuit, which was always going to need an element of good fortune as well as some serious power hitting, could scarcely have begun more inauspiciously.
Kusal Mendis, one of the few in the revamped Sri Lanka line-up with significant international experience, tried to heave Mitchell Starc's fifth ball of the opening over beyond mid-wicket, and offered only a limp catch to square leg.
Two wickets in as many deliveries to Pat Cummins in his opening over left the visitors in tatters at 3-13, and effectively ended the game as a contest.
Oshada Fernando prevented Cummins from joining Brett Lee as the only Australia bowler to date with a T20I hat-trick. But the only way Sri Lanka might have made a worse start was if Ashton Agar had held a comparatively straightforward chance, albeit looking into the afternoon sun at deep backward square in the second over.
The chance was offered by Danushka Gunathilaka who fell to Cummins soon after, and robbed home-town hero Kane Richardson of a wicket in his first over.
On a gloriously sunny Adelaide afternoon, 16,268 fans turned out to bask in Australia's emphatic start to the men's home international season.
And while the Australia supporters had far more to cheer about than their Sri Lanka counterparts, the lively, energetic trumpet playing by a bank of Sri Lankan fans in front of the historic scoreboard lent the day a carnival feel.
With the band refusing to stop playing, even as their heroes sunk to defeat.
Australia XI: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey (wk), Ashton Agar, Patrick Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.
Sri Lanka XI: Lasith Malinga (c), Dhanushka Gunathilika, Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Kusal Perera (wk), Oshada Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha.
Gillette T20 INTLs v Sri Lanka
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Sean Abbott (from game two)
Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (c), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha
First T20: Australia won by 134 runs
October 30: Second T20I, Gabba, 6.10pm (Fox & Kayo)
November 1: Third T20I, MCG, 7.10pm (Fox & Kayo)
Gillette T20 INTLs v Pakistan
Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir.
November 3: First T20I, SCG, 2.30pm (Fox & Kayo)
November 5: Second T20I, Manuka Oval, 7.10pm (Fox & Kayo)
November 8: Third T20I, Perth Stadium, 4.30pm (Fox & Kayo)