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Australia finally applies the blowtorch to Sri Lanka

Cricket

Legspinner Adam Zampa and allrounder James Faulkner both claimed three wickets as Australia avoided a T20 series whitewash with a 41-run triumph against Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval last night.

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The Lankans, seeking 188 for victory, were bowled out for 146 in 18 overs in front of 19,326 spectators – but they still win the three-game series 2-1.

It’s the first time in six meetings that a visiting Sri Lanka side has lost a T20 in Australia, but the tourists’ chase was given early impetus by Dilshan Munaweera, who smacked 37 from 25 balls.

But from 0-41 in the fourth over the tourists lost traction and slid to 4-76 in the 10th.

Australian captain Aaron Finch, who earlier cracked a half-century – as did his opening partner Michael Klinger – used constant bowling changes to unsettle Sri Lanka.

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Tim Paine’s face lights up as the bails fly after Adam Zampa bowls Chamara Kapugedera. Photo: Michael Errey / InDaily

Finch deployed seven different bowlers in the initial 10 overs and four of them had wickets by the midpoint.

From then, Sri Lanka perished in a do-or-die mission with only Milinda Siriwardana (35 from 27 balls) offering resistance.

Zampa, recalled into the side at the expense of Andrew Tye, was the chief destroyer, taking 3-25 from four tidy overs, including the prized scalp of game two’s match-winner, Asela Gunaratne, for four.

Faulkner took 3-20 from three overs, paceman Jhye Richardson (1-38 from three) recovered from being slapped for 20 runs from his opening over while Travis Head took 1-16 from two overs.

Earlier, Klinger top-scored with 62 from 43 deliveries and Finch posted 53 from 32 balls – the latter cashing in a Sri Lankan slip: on zero, Munaweera turfed a simple catching chance from the fifth ball of the innings.

The opening pair put on a brisk 79 run partnership, laying a solid platform for Ben Dunk (28 from 21 balls) and Travis Head (30 from 16) to produce valuable cameos.

Australia posted 6-187, despite losing 4-8 from the last 11 balls, and the total was enough to make belated amends for last-ball losses in the opening two games.

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Pat Cummins completes a catch to remove Mendis off Kane Richardson’s bowling. Photo: Michael Errey / InDaily

Zampa said his performance was pleasing after being recalled to the line-up.

“I would like to cement myself more in the team,” he said, adding the Lankans were difficult batsmen to bowl at.

“They’re very fearless players … they keep playing fearless cricket so sometimes it can be very tough to bowl to.”

Australian captain Aaron Finch said it was nice to finish off the series with a win.

“We played some fantastic cricket tonight, it was probably our most complete performance out of the three (games),” Finch said.

Sri Lanka’s Gunaratne was named player of the series and his captain Upul Tharanga described the tour as most satisfying.

“We have done a really good job,” Tharanga said.

-AAP

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