The scorecard: Australia 6-187 (Klinger 62, Finch 53, Shanaka 2-27) beat Sri Lanka 146 (Munaweera 37, Faulkner 3-18, Zampa 3-21) by 41 runs at Adelaide Oval
The match in a tweet: Australia hit back in Adelaide! Finch and Klinger lead the way with the bat before Zampa puts Sri Lanka in a spin to seal consolation win
The series: Australia’s victory in the dead rubber sees them finish on a high note, but Sri Lanka go home with a 2-1 series victory and a new piece of silverware.
The drought-breaker: Before Wednesday, it had been 837 days since Australia last won a T20I on home soil. That last win came on November 9, 2014, when Australia defeated South Africa by two wickets at the SCG.
The comeback kid: Australia spinner Adam Zampa described his axing for the second T20 as "a little bit of a kick in the guts", after he was a shock omission from Sunday's match at Kardinia Park. The wet conditions in Geelong worked against the leg-spinner, according to Finch, but he made up for lost time after being recalled on Wednesday, taking 3-21. Zampa dropped a catch in the third over to hand Dilshan Munaweera a life when the opener was on 20 off seven, while his first over with the ball leaked six runs for no reward. But he then found his groove, trapping Asela Gunaratne – the hero of Sri Lanka’s run chases in Melbourne and Geelong – plumb lbw for four, before sending Chamara Kapugedera (7) and Dasun Shanaka (7) on their way during his third over. Zampa finished the series with the equal-most wickets of any Australian despite only playing two matches, taking five scalps at 10.20 with an economy rate of 6.3.
The captain’s knock: Australia skipper Aaron Finch was dropped on nought on the fifth ball of the match, with Dilshan Munaweera spilling a sitter at short midwicket. He made Sri Lanka pay, striking the first six of the match next over, looking full of intent as he attacked the tourists to help Australia to 0-62 at the end of the Powerplay. He brought up his seventh T20I half-century with another six, reaching the milestone off just 30 deliveries, before his onslaught was brought to an end in the following over, caught on the boundary at long-off by Seekkuge Prasanna, who celebrated with a dab. Finch’s 53 came off 32 balls, featuring three sixes and five fours.
The veteran: Michael Klinger had to wait the best part of two decades to make his international debut, but he had to wait just three innings to bring up his first half-century for Australia. After knocks of 38 and 43 in the opening two matches, the third T20I and the final match of the home summer on Australian soil allowed the 36-year-old to finally have his moment in the sun, as he brought up his maiden fifty off 36 balls. He added another 12 to that tally before being run out on 62 off 43 deliveries in the 19th over. Australia aren’t scheduled to play another T20I until next February and the form that team will take is a mystery, but nothing will take this night at Adelaide Oval away from Klinger.
The support cast: After Finch and Klinger laid the foundation, Ben Dunk (28 from 21 balls) and Travis Head (30 from 16) produced valuable cameos to help the hosts to their highest total of the series. Dunk’s innings included 12 runs off one Vikum Sanjaya over, while Head savaged Malinga in the 17th, striking back-to-back sixes followed by a boundary. With the ball, James Faulkner lived up to his ‘finisher’ moniker, putting paid to any hopes of a Sri Lankan fightback has he snared 3-20 from his three overs.
The innovation: Dunk showed brilliant awareness after he was initially outsmarted by Dasun Shanaka, making a quick adjustment to pull off a leg-side scoop in what was described as a “breathtaking" piece of innovation by Nine commentator Mark Nicholas.
The consolation efforts: Elevated to the top of the order in place of suspended Niroshan Dickwella, Munaweera slotted straight into his new spot at the top of the order, racing to 20 off just seven deliveries before being put down by Zampa in the third over. He stood poised to take yet another match away from the Australians before he went for one big shot too many, dismissed off Head’s first ball for a 25-ball 37. Then it was a case of too little, too late for the tourists, but Milinda Siriwardana provided some excitement for the Sri Lanka fans in his cameo of 35 off 27 deliveries. His knock featured two sixes, including one outstanding shot over cover that slapped into the the Sir Edwin Smith Stand fence.
The next stop: That’s all folks! Well as far as the home Australian summer is concerned anyway; the Test squad will be in action tomorrow when the first Test against India gets underway in Pune.