Sri Lanka bowl; Malinga returns, Sanjaya makes debut

Posted February 17, 2017

Australia and Sri Lanka will start their three-game T20 worldwide series on Friday night at the MCG.

Chamara Kapugedera's last-ball boundary has given Sri Lanka a five-wicket win over Australia in their opening T20 clash at the MCG.

With Sri Lanka seemingly cruising to victory needing 18 runs off the last three overs, Turner injected fresh excitement into the contest claiming two wickets in the 18th over. Lasith Malinga was also included for his first full worldwide appearance since February past year.

The pulsating win was made possible by a dashing 52 off 37 balls by Asela Gunaratne, who was named man-of-the-match for his match-turning innings. So, for stand-in skipper Aaron Finch, there's much to rectify.

Sri Lanka are closer to their full T20 line-up, although Angelo Mathews is also out because of a hamstring injury and Upul Tharanga will captain the team instead.

Dilshan Munaweera smashed a breezy 44 off 29 balls with six fours before he hit a short ball from Zampa to mid-wicket where Finch took a head-high catch.

Two balls later, Turner struck again by dismissing Siriwardana to derail the chase for the visitors.

Kapugedera made 10 not out and Seekugge Prasanna was unbeaten on eight.

Finch top-scored with 43, also passing 1000 T20 global runs.

Lasith Malinga, who has played virtually no cricket for almost a year due to injuries, was an influential figure taking two wickets in two balls and taking two catches.

With several of their top players in India for a test series, Australia fielded a second-string team with Michael Klinger, Billy Stanlake and Ashton Turner making their debut in Twenty20 Internationals.

Lanka, who have now taken a 1-0 lead in the series, will play their second T20 against Australia on Sunday at Shell Stadium in Victoria.

The game attracted a solid crowd of around 42,511, with Sri Lankan fans in the majority. Odd times. So Klinger will make his worldwide debut for Australia at the age of 36.

"It was a good time to drop a catch", Australian coach Justin Langer noted during the match telecast.

"Coaching in the IPL was really challenging and a lot of fun ... to get a real taste for what coaching is all about was great", he said.

In particular, Australia needed one of their top-order players to post a big score.

"That's one thing I've said to the boys over the last couple of days, I'm a pretty competitive person and if I see things around the group that aren't the way I want them, I'll let them know and make sure they up the ante and get everything out of themselves".