Gunaratne epic steals series for SL

19 February 2017

Right-hander produces innings of his life as Sri Lanka come from nowhere to win series

KFC T20 INTLs v Sri Lanka, Second T20


The scorecard: Australia 173 (Henriques 56no, Klinger 43, Kulasekara 4-31) lost to Sri Lanka 8-176 (Gunaratne 84no, Tye 3-37) by two wickets with zero balls to spare

The match in a tweet: Sri Lanka seal the series! Gunaratne wins the seemingly unwinnable with a blazing 84no from 46 at Kardinia Park!

The final over: Once again it all came down to the final over and once again it was Andrew Tye with the ball. The first ball saw Nuwan Kulasekara hole out, but his dismissal only put a rampaging Asela Gunaratne back on strike. A four then a six followed, leaving four needed off three. A single briefly robbed Gunaratne of the strike but another single put him back in prime position to face the final delivery. With two required, he finished it off in style, blasting a boundary to seal a series victory.

Relive an unbelievable final two overs

The hero: He’s done it again! Gunaratne continued his excellent form with another match-winning knock at Kardinia Park. After top-scoring with a match-winning 52 off 37 on Friday night, Gunaratne again led the way on Sunday in Geelong. And this time, he saw the match through to its enthralling finish. Coming to the crease at 3-37, Gunaratne looked to attack from the outset, taking a particular liking to the bowling of debutant Jhye Richardson as he kept the tourists in the run chase despite regular wickets falling at the other end. It was starting to look like mission impossible for Sri Lanka when the equation was 48 runs needed off 18 balls, but Gunaratne launched at exactly the right moment, striking two boundaries off the 18th over before launching at Moises Henriques with the next, blasting 22 runs in the form of three sixes and a four. Suddenly, the tourists needed just 14 off 6, and boy, did the Sri Lanka star polish it off in style, finishing unbeaten on 84 off 46.

Gun Gunaratne produces a classic T20 knock

The support act: Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Kulasekara closed Australia's innings out with three wickets in four balls. First, he bowled Australia quick Pat Cummins for three. A dot ball followed, before he removed Tye and Richardson with consecutive balls to finish the innings.

Kulasekara takes three in four

The consolation effort: Moises Henriques led the way with the bat for Australia, striking an unbeaten 56 from 37 balls – his highest score in T20I cricket. Dropped on 19 by Chamara Kapugedera, his knock was crucial after Michael Klinger (43 off 37) and Ben Dunk (32 off 14) didn’t capitalise after making starts, while Australian wickets fell around Henriques late in the innings.

Henriques hammers crucial half-century

The Slam Dunk: Ben Dunk returned to the Australian XI for the second T20I, his first match for Australia in more than two years, and didn’t he love it. The 29-year-old struck two fours and three sixes in his 14-ball 32, pillaging 22 runs off one Dilshan Munaweera over. He followed it up with a sharp catch, flying high at mid-off to hang on to the sort of classic ‘mark’ more typically seen at Kardinia Park during the Australian Football League season.

Dynamic Dunk goes big in Geelong

The Nostradamus moment: Mic’d up on Nine’s Wide World of Sports, skipper Finch said he was hoping young quick Jhye Richardson would be able to find the edge of Kusal Medis’s bat on his debut. And that's exactly what he did just seconds later.

"Aaron Finch, get up in the commentary box!"

The double strike: Sri Lanka were 3-40 in the fifth over when Western Australia paceman Andrew Tye took two wickets in as many balls to put Australia firmly on top. His first came as a fuller ball caught Dilshan Munaweera off guard, striking his glove on its way through to ‘keeper Tim Paine. Next ball, Milinda Siriwardana cut a ball directly to Ashton Turner at backward point. But there was no hat-trick for Tye as Chamara Kapugedera left his next delivery outside off stump and Sri Lanka rebuilt to somehow claim the victory.

Tye strikes ... then strikes again

The debutant: Perth Scorchers quick Jhye Richardson was handed his first international cap by former skipper Mark Taylor before play, coming into the Australian XI in place of fellow fast bowler Billy Stanlake. Handed the ball for the fourth over of Sri Lanka’s chase, the 20-year-old had to wait just three balls to claim his maiden international wicket, with Kusal Mendis caught behind for five.

Richardson handed his T20 cap in Geelong

The surprise: Australia surprisingly left leg-spinner Adam Zampa out of their side as they made two changes, with Richardson and Dunk coming in for Stanlake and Zampa. While the former had struggled on debut in Friday night’s opening match, Zampa was the pick of the Australian bowlers on that occasion, taking 2-26 from his four-over spell.

Desperate Dunk leaps for a speccie

The wash up: Sri Lanka take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three match series. Next, the action shifts to Adelaide, where the teams will meet in the third and final T20I on Wednesday at 7.20pm local time.