Aaron Finch top scored with 43 © AFP
Aaron Finch top scored with 43 © AFP

Australia set a target of 169 runs against Sri Lanka in the first T20I, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in Melbourne on Friday. After being asked to bat first, Australia made a confident start with Michael Klinger proving why he was handed a debut at the age of 36. Klinger was not the only one to make his international debut, as Ashton Turner and fast bowler Billy Stanlake were also given their first-ever matches for the Australian side. On the other hand, Sri Lanka handed out debut to Vikum Sanjaya who bowled an impressive spell in his first international game, which also marked the return of Lasith Malinga. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI at Melbourne

Aaron Finch and Klinger added 76 runs for the opening wicket in about 10 overs, as they continued to bat aggressively against the fast bowlers. However, the hosts lost the momentum as soon as the spinners came into the attack. Australia did not only lose their momentum but also three wickets in a flurry. The scoring, however, remained tough at the MCG wicket as the batsmen looked more to rotate the strike and find the gaps. The Australian batsmen were able to get a few good starts but none of them could bat for long. Finch was dismissed for 43, Klinger fell for 38 and Travis Head scored a 24-ball 31 which came with just one six. FULL CRICKET UPDATES: Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI at Melbourne

Australia’s lower-order, however, failed to make a mark as no batsman could get going against the Sri Lankan bowlers who failed to find any rhythm and their fielding remained poor as well. Moises Henriques fell for a 10-ball 17, whereas the debutant Ashton Turner could get only 18 runs off 13 balls with the help of a boundary and a six.

Finch faced 34 balls and struck 2 boundaries and as many sixes to score 43 runs. In the process, he also completed his 1,000 runs in the shortest format. Interestingly, he is captaining Australia in their second consecutive limited-over series on the trot, as he had captained Australia in the ODI series in New Zealand as well.

The comeback man Lasith Malinga made his return memorable, as he gave away only 29 runs off his four overs and also snaffled 2 wickets in form of Head and James Faulkner, who were dismissed on consecutive deliveries in the 19th over of the innings.

The debutant Klinger was impressive in his innings, scoring 38 off 32 balls with the help of 4 boundaries. Klinger was the first batsman to be dismissed, failing to pick up a delivery from Lakshan Sandakan and getting caught by Malinga. Head looked for singles and doubles at ease, and picked up a slow ball perfectly to send it flying over the ropes at deep midwicket for his 31.

Even though he did not get any wicket, Seekkuge Prasanna was the most impressive Sri Lankan bowler. He bowled 4 overs for only 23 runs.

Brief scores:

Australia 168 for 6 in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 43, Michael Klinger 38, Travis Head 31; Lasith Malinga 2 for 29) vs Sri Lanka.