MELBOURNE, Jan 28: Thisara Perera produced an outstanding all-round performance to help Sri Lanka to a two-run win over Australia in their rain-affected Twenty20 International on Monday, securing a 2-0 victory in the series that sparked animosity between the two sides.

After making a hard-hitting unbeaten 35 in Sri Lanka’s innings of 161-4, Perera bowled a pressure-laden final over to give his team victory under the Duckworth/Lewis Method.

Australia needed 18 runs from Perera’s final over to win the match, after being set a revised target of 122 from 15 overs following a lengthy rain delay.

The chase came down to four runs from the last ball but Perera produced a dot ball, after conceding consecutive boundaries from his two previous deliveries, to take the match and the series.

However, the match ended with angry scenes as players from both teams clashed verbally, even during the traditional congratulatory handshakes.

Sri Lanka were displeased that Australian umpires Simon Fry and John Ward ruled the match should continue after an almost 90 minute rain delay, which left the outfield at the Melbourne Cricket Ground damp and slippery.

The fourth One-day International between the teams at Sydney last week was abandoned in very similar circumstances when Sri Lanka were in a strong position to win both the match and the series.

Then, a minor rain shower dampened the outfield causing the umpires to call off the match and costing Sri Lanka the chance to take a winning 3-1 lead in the five-match series. After that match was abandoned, Australia won the fifth game to tie the series 2-2.

On Monday, Sri Lanka would have won the match clearly under the D/L Method if the umpires had abandoned it when rain intervened after the 10th over of the Australian innings. At that point, Australia were 60-2 and trailed Sri Lanka by 15 runs under the D/Lewis calculations.

Sri Lanka’s coach Graham Ford and captain Angelo Mathews made clear to the umpires their belief that the match should not continue.

The umpires ruled that play could continue but, when they did so, five overs had been lost and Australia were set a revised chance for 122.—AP


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