Australia spun out of Sri Lanka ODI series
Australia’s tall order ahead on spinning Sri Lankan Test wickets has been laid bare, after being spun out of the one-day series with a four-run defeat in Colombo.
Chasing 259, David Warner played a lone hand with 99 as Australia capitulated from 4-189 in the 36th over to be all out for 254 and down 3-1 in the five-match series.
David Warner leaves the ground after being stumped for 99 runs.Credit:Getty Images
The margin could also have been far worse, if not for Pat Cummins’ 35 and Matthew Kuhnemann scoring 14 from the final over off Dasun Shanaka before being caught in the ring on the final ball.
But it couldn’t paper over Australia’s challenges against spin.
Seven wickets fell to the slower bowlers, as Sri Lanka played five turners and sent down 43 overs from them on a wicket that spun well into the night.
Just over a week out from the first Test in Galle, the hosts’ win will likely set a blueprint for how they plan to beat Australia in the red-ball format.
Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay took 2-40, offspinner Dhananjaya de Silva 2-39 and mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana 1-40.
Warner meanwhile had looked in control after Mitch Marsh (26), Marnus Labuschagne (14) and Alex Carey (19) all came and went after looking in.
The opener was cagey in the early overs, before deciding to throw his hands at mystery spinner Theekshana and go after him at the top.
He hit 12 boundaries in his knock, going hard through the covers early and driving superbly as his innings went on.
Sri Lanka’s Jeffrey Vandersay successfully appeals to dismiss Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne.Credit:AP Photo
And when he reached 99 Warner looked almost certain to end the longest century drought of his international career, which now sits at 48 innings across all formats.
But then the match swung violently in Sri Lanka’s favour, and toward their first bilateral one-day series win over Australia at home since 1992.
With Warner at the non-striker’s end Travis Head (27) was bowled by Dhananjaya, before Glenn Maxwell was trapped lbw by Theekshana next over.
And when Warner finally got the strike back Dhananjaya drew him off balance and beat his outside edge to have him stumped.
Pat Cummins of Australia bats during the 4th match in the ODI series between Sri Lanka and Australia.Credit:Getty Images
Cameron Green followed shortly after, before Cummins (35) and Kuhnemann’s late efforts.
The collapse will no doubt have evoked memories of the 2016 Test tour for the locals, when Australia struggled to combat the spin in the 3-0 series loss.
The good news for Australia on Tuesday was that their two best players from that series are returning to fitness, with Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith both sighted in the nets with a red ball after finger and quad injuries.
Cummins also bowled nicely on field, taking 2-37 and unlucky not to have one more wicket early when he hit Charith Asalanka’s leg stump with the left-hander on one.
However the bail did not fall off, allowing Asalanka to lead Sri Lanka from 3-34 to 258 with his maiden international century of 110 from 106 balls.
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