© Getty Images
With this match, Malinga made a comeback into the international circuit after nearly a year © Getty Images

Sri Lanka started off the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series Down Under on a victorious note as they defeated the hosts in a nail-biting match that went down till the last ball. Winning the toss, Sri Lanka elected to bowl but could not restrict the hosts  for less than 168. The chase turned out to be a roller-coaster of highs and lows for Sri Lanka, who eventually won it with the last ball going for a boundary. Starting from four players making their debut to comeback of a veteran pacer, the match remained a witness to many events. Here are the highlights from Friday’s fixture at Melbourne: FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I at Melbourne

1.  Four debutants: Australia had picked a second-string squad for the series since the core team is in India for the upcoming Test series. Naturally, a number of debuts were on the cards. Three Australians represented their country in T20Is for the first time: Michael Klinger, Billy Stanlake and Ashton Turner. For Sri Lanka, pacer Vikum Sanjaya made his debut.

2.  Comeback for Lasith ‘Slinga’ Malinga: One of the most successful limited-overs pacers from Sri Lanka, Malinga remained sidelined for a long time for various injuries. With this match, he made a comeback into the international circuit after nearly a year as he had last played during Asia Cup 2016.

3.  1,000 T20I runs for Aaron Finch: One of the strongest pair of hands to open batting in the current cricket arena, Finch completed his 1,000 T20I runs on Friday. He became the second fastest to get to the milestone after Virat Kohli.

4.  Klinger’s clean batting: Klinger performed exceptionally well of all the debutants in Friday’s match. With a confident stance and commendable footwork, the 36-year-old notched up 38 off 32 and provided his fellow opener and skipper support to build a strong opening partnership. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI at Melbourne

5.  Two on two, a couple of catches and a grin: Malinga’s distinct action, his presence, deadly yorkers — all were missed over the period of the year. But the most attractive is his act of smiling even after getting hit for a boundary and that was seen once again in the match. He bagged two crucial wickets on consecutive balls but missed on his hat-trick. He also took two brilliant catches which showed his fitness level.

6.  Dilshan Munaweera, the knight in the shining armour: The captain departs in the first over chasing a challenging target and then arrives the saviour, Munaweera. His knock paved way for Sri Lanka’s victory. He scored 40 odd runs off 29 balls and hit 6 fours but moreover, he was the first batsman of the side to play with composure and confidence.

7.  Asela Gunaratne’s match-winning 52: Another player who impressed with the bat was Gunaratne who kept his cool and scored 52 off 37; hitting 7 fours in the process.

8.  Ashton Turner’s couple: Just when Sri Lanka thought things were going smoothly, came Turner with the ball in hand. He broke the crucial partnership between Gunaratne and Milinda Siriwardana sending both the set batsmen back in the same over.

9.  The match-defining four: Scores were  levelled. The match could either have ended in a tie or in favour of Sri Lanka. With just one needed off the final delivery and Andrew Tye to bowl the final delivery, Finch brought his fielders inside the circle to stop the single. Least had he expected that Chamara Kapugedera would put in all his power to hit it through the covers and bring victory to the visitors’ camp.