Glenn Maxwell's 66 proved decisive in the end as Australia went past Sri Lanka's score of 128 © AFP
Glenn Maxwell’s 66 proved decisive in the end as Australia went past Sri Lanka’s score of 128 © AFP

Australia won the second Twenty20 (T20I) by four wickets to stamp their authority in the shortest format against Sri Lanka to end their tour on a high. Winning the toss, stand-in captain, Dinesh Chandimal elected to bat but his side could not stand tall against a well disciplined bowling line-up of Australia. Only two Sri Lankan batsmen got going as others failed to muster any sort of score for the side. Sri Lanka eventually ended the first innings for 128 for 9. In reply, Australia sailed through the total easily and won the match by comprehensively. Australia had won the first T20I comprehensively too as Glenn Maxwell’s 145 off 65 balls led his side to a 85-run victory. Full Cricket Scorecard: Sri Lanka vs Australia 2nd T20I at Colombo

Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is playing his last international match, was given guard of honour before the start of play by his teammates but could not score a big one as he was dismissed for 1 off a wide delivery from John Hastings. Dilshan returned with figures of 2 for 8 in 2 overs to give his side an outside chance to win but failed in the end. The pick of the bowlers was Adam Zampa who ended with three wickets in his 4 overs giving just 16 runs. James Faulkner also contributed with three wickets for 19 runs.

Sri Lanka failed in the first innings again, like they did in the first T20I but this time with the bat, as they were guilty of throwing their wickets cheaply. There were a lot of soft dismissals as Hastings started their downfall. Faulkner and Zampa ran through their middle-order as only Dhananjaya de Silva showed composure to stick around in the middle. de Silva scored his first T20I fifty and managed to save some pride for his side.

Zampa, being the find of the tour for Australia, bowled in right areas and bowled a bit slow at times to outfox the batsmen. Zampa was successful in the last match of the tour as he ensured the hosts were not given any breathing space in the final T20I. ALSO READ: Dilshan congratulated by ICC

Kusal Perera played a vital cameo with a quickfire 22 but got out to a brilliant catch by Warner. Chandimal also failed as he went for 4. Chamara Kapugedara went for 7 while Kusal Mendis got dismissed for 5. Thisara Perera, Sri Lanka’s all-rounder, could not even open his account. This has been the story for the hosts as they never got going which resulted in their downfall.

Dilshan’s last innings ended on a sad note as he could not entertain the jam packed crowd and departed in the second over of the innings. Dilshan is second-highest run-scorer in T20Is with 1,888 runs under his belt from 79 T20Is at an average of 28.60. Dilshan has scored a century in T20Is as well, a feat only achieved by one more Sri Lankan batsman — Mahela Jayawardene. Dilshan has also scored 13 T20I half-centuries which is only second to Virat Kohli who has scored 16.

Maxwell continued with his ominous form and started exactly from where he had left in Pallekele. He brought up his half-century in just 18 balls. This was the fastest fifty by an Australian in the format and also the fastest on Sri Lankan soil. David Warner looked good and enjoyed the proceedings from the other end as his partner hammered the balls out of the park. Maxwell scored 66 while Warner added 25 runs. Maxwell added 211 runs in two matches to prove selectors wrong in ignoring him for the ODIs. This is also the second highest runs scored in a bilateral T20I series. He fell behind Hamilton Masakadza’s 222 against Bangladesh. Maxwell was also adjudged Man of the Match and Man of the Series in the match presentation.

Sri Lanka came back into the match after the wicket of Maxwell as Australia lost three quick wickets as Moises Henriques, Warner and Faulkner departed in quick succession to give the hosts a chance. The middle and lower-middle order of Australia were put to test but Maxwell’s 66 proved to be the difference in the match. Sri Lanka’s low score and Maxwell’s outburst came in the middle of what could have been a riveting farewell for Dilshan.

Australia won the series but will have to get more confidence playing spin in subcontinent before they embark on their tour to India in 2017. The likes of Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Faulkner and Joe Burns have plenty to ponder upon before they can be sure of playing against the turning ball. Travis Head and Peter Nevill held their nerves to manage a win for their side but Australia will be wary of how they made things difficult towards the end of the match. ALSO READ: de Silva’s maiden T20I fifty helps SL post 128 vs AUS

Australia will be pleased with their efforts after a dismal outing in Tests. They were whitewashed against a relatively inexperienced Sri Lankan side which exposed their weakness against spin in subcontinent. Australia came back hard in the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) series winning it by 4-1. Though they lost their regular skipper, Steven Smith, after the second ODI but Warner managed to sail his side past the opponents in the rest of the matches of the tour.

Australia made a mockery of the hosts in the T20I series and will now head to South Africa for a five-ODI series before hosting them and Pakistan, later in 2016. Sri Lanka will also head to South Africa in December, 2016 and like to get their act together, especially in shorter formats. Their youngsters will be expected to get better and be more confident when they represent their side. de Silva, Mendis Sachith Pathirana were the finds of Sri Lanka from the tour and they will be targeted by their national side to deliver for future assignments too.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 128 for 9 (Kusal Perera 22, Dhananjaya de Silva 62; Adam Zampa 3 for 16, James Faulkner 3 for 19) lose to Australia 129 for 6 (David Warner 25, Glenn Maxwell 66; Tillakaratne Dilshan 2 for 8, Sachith Pathirana 2 for 23) by 4 wickets.

Full Cricket Scorecard: Sri Lanka vs Australia 2nd T20I at Colombo