PALLEKELE: Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith struck half-centuries as Australia beat Sri Lanka by two wickets in a thrilling finish to the rain-affected first one-day international on Tuesday for a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Chasing a Duckworth-Lewis-Stern adjusted target of 282 from 44 overs after a brilliant unbeaten 86 by Kusal Mendis took the hosts to 300-7 before the rain, Australia got home with nine balls to spare and Maxwell unbeaten on a 51-ball 80.

Maxwell smashed six fours and six maximums after the visitors stuttered against the bowling of spinner Wanindu Hasaranga who bagged four wickets.

Australia lost opener David Warner for a duck in the second over, leg before wicket to Maheesh Theekshana.

Fellow opener Aaron Finch scored 44 off 41 balls before he was caught behind by Kusal Mendis off Hasaranga.

When rain halted play, the visitors were 73 for two with Smith and Marnus Lab­u­s­chagne at the crease.

After play resumed, Labuschagne fell for 24. Marcus Stoinis scored 44 off 31 balls. Smith made 53 before he was clean bowled by Dunith Wellalage.

Alex Carey scored a quick 21 off 22 balls and Pat Cummins, playing his first ODI after 18 months with an injury, fell for a duck.

But Maxwell saw his team home, ending the match with two consecutive sixes off Dushm­antha Chameera.

“I tried to be there as long as I could. I thought it was a good opportunity to get the run rate down against the young spinner,” Maxwell said.

Sri Lankan skipper Dusan Shanaka bemoa­ned too many short balls and full tosses.

“300 is a winning total on this ground, but our bowling cost us the game,” Shanaka said.

Earlier in the day, the hosts began their inn­ings with solid batting performances by openers Danushka Gunat­hilaka and Path­­um Nissanka, who scored half centuries in their opening stand of 115.

Both men hammered an Australian fast-bowling attack plagued by injuries before the visitors caught Gunathilaka short of his crease with a direct hit by Stoinis.

Nissanka top-edged a reverse sweep to Ashton Agar to hand Finch a simple catch two overs later.

Mendis anchored the innings with an unbeaten 86 off 87 balls to take the hosts to 300.

A quick-fire 37 off 19 balls by Hasaranga helped Sri Lanka post a challenging total.

Spinners Labuschagne and Agar took two wickets each.

Australia have suffered setbacks with lead bowlers rested from the tour including Kane Richardson, who returned home on Sunday after injuring a hamstring in the last T20 international.

SRI LANKA:

D. Gunathilaka run out 55

P. Nissanka c Finch b Agar 56

K. Mendis not out 86

D. de Silva c Finch b J. Richardson 7

C. Asalanka c Warner b Agar 37

D. Shanaka c Warner b Labuschagne 6

C. Karunaratne c Carey b Labuschagne 7

W. Hasaranga c Richardson b Hazelwood 37

EXTRAS (B-1, LB-2, W-6) 9

TOTAL (for seven wickets, 50 overs) 300

DID NOT BAT: Dushmantha Chameera, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-115 (Gunathilaka), 2-118 (Nissanka), 3-134 (de Silva), 4-211 (Asalanka), 5-240 (Shanaka), 6-258 (Karunaratne), 7-300 (Hasaranga)

BOWLING: Hazlewood 10-0-54-1, Maxwell 10-0-60-0, Cummins 8-1-48-0, J Richardson 8-0-64-1, Agar 10-0-49-2, Stoinis 1-0-3-0, Labuschagne 3-0-19-2

AUSTRALIA (DLS target: 282 from 44 overs):

D. Warner lbw b Theekshana 0

A. Finchc Mendis b Hasaranga 44

S. Smith b Wellalage 53

M. Labuschagnec c Wellalage b Shanaka 24

M. Stoinis b Hasaranga 44

A. Carey lbw b Hasaranga 21

G. Maxwell not out 80

P. Cummins b Hasaranga 0

A. Agar lbw b Wellalage 3

J. Richardson not out 1

EXTRAS (B-6, LB-1, W-5) 12

TOTAL (for eight wickets, 42.3 overs) 282

DID NOT BAT: Josh Hazlewood

FALL OF WICKETS: 1-5 (Warner), 2-72 (Finch), 3-126 (Labuschagne), 4-141 (Smith), 5-189 (Stoinis) 6-228 (Carey), 7-228 (Cummins), 8-254 (Agar)

BOWLING: Chameera 7.3-0-60-0, Theekshana 8-0-51-1, Karunaratne 4-0-16-0, Hasaranga 9-0-58-4, Wellalage 7-0-49-2, de Silva 3-0-14-0, Shanaka 4-0-27-1

RESULT: Australia won by two wickets (DLS).

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2022

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