George Bailey rescued his team with a fighting 70 runs in 3rd ODI © PTI (File photo)
George Bailey rescued his team with a fighting 70 runs in 3rd ODI © PTI (File photo)

Australia won a thrilling contest against Sri Lanka in the third One-Day International (ODI) at Dambulla to lead the five-ODI series 2-1. Winning the toss, Angelo Mathews decided to bat. The hosts succumbed to early jolts as their openers failed to get them off to a brisk start. Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was playing his last ODI match, looked much better with his approach and was set for a big score but eventually fell for 42 in the 19th over. Dinesh Chandimal continued with his rich vein of form as he scored his fourth ODI century to guide his team to a respectable total. David Warner and co. got off to a poor start but it was George Bailey who guided them to a morale boosting and hard fought win. Australia struggled towards the end but eventually passed the line. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI at Dambulla

In the first innings, Gunathilaka’s poor run of form continued as his stumps were again cleaned up by Starc.  Dilshan was then accompanied by Kusal Mendis, who has played well so far against the Australians but departed early as well. They were tottering at 23 for 2 which brought in-form batsman, Dinesh Chandimal. Dilshan was playing his shots and looking in good stead. The duo added 73 runs for the third wicket but DIlshan got out for 42 trying to pull a ball from Adam Zampa but was caught at short mid-wicket by George Bailey. He was acknowledged by the crowd on his departure as he has been outstanding as a player for his nation for over a decade.

Mathews could not do much with the willow which added more pressure on the lower-middle order of the hosts. Australians were on target and were being rotated well by the stand-in captain, David Warner. As a result, Dhananjaya de Silva added 30 runs with Chandimal and departed for 12 whereas Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera came in and went without doing anything significant. On the other hand, Chandimal bated like he was playing on a different surface. The pitch required to be patient and stick around and he was ready to buy time in the middle. He was composed and kept the scoreboard ticking without playing any rash shots. Chandimal scored his fourth ODI hundred whereas this was the first time he brought up a ton on home soil. LIVE CRICKET UPDATES: Australia vs Sri Lanka 3rd ODI at Dambulla

Warner and Aaron Finch were expected to come hard against the home team but the chase was always going to be tricky under lights and against Sri Lanka’s spin. Their openers failed and they lost three wickets early in their chase but it was George Bailey who played exactly like Chandimal and agreed to spend more time at the crease without trying to much. He was later on rewarded for his performance with the Man of the Match award.

He added 62 runs with Travis Head whereas added another vital 81 with wicketkeeper-batsman, Matthew Wade. Australia started to struggle after Wade and Bailey fell. Sri Lankans fought hard as they were eager to give a fitting farewell to Dilshan. Mathews and Amila Aponso ended the innings with two wickets apiece whereas Seekkuge Prasanna and Dhananjaya de Silva took a wicket each towards the end to challenge the Australians even towards the end. ALSO READ: Tillakaratne Dilshan: ODI career in pictures

Bailey fought hard for the team and led their revival which would mean a lot as it was a crunch match of the series. Chasing under lights was difficult and that too against Sri Lanka’s spin but the visitors fought hard to take a lead in the series with two games to go. Dilshan, a veteran of 329 ODI matches, has finished his sparkling ODI career but will feature again in Twenty20 (T20s). The hosts will like to give him a winning farewell when he turns up for the shortest format.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 226 (Tillakaratne Dilshan 42, Dinesh Chandimal 102; Adam Zampa 3 for 38; Mitchell Starc 2 for 42) lose to Australia 227 for 8 (George Baiey 70, Travis Head 36, Matthew Wade 42; Amila Aponso 2 for 44, Dilruwan Perera 2 for 45) 2 wickets.