Kusal Perera fifty guides Sri Lanka to 142/7 in third Australia T20I
Kusal Perera (©AFP)

Kusal Perera hit 57 as Sri Lanka finally found some form Friday in the third and final Twenty20, setting Australia 143 to clean-sweep the series. The home team have been dominant in the opening two games, winning by 134 runs in Adelaide and by nine wickets with seven overs to spare in Brisbane, completely outplaying the visitors.

Sri Lanka’s batting had been insipid until now — their top score before Friday in two games was 27 — and they made four changes as Aaron Finch won the toss and put them into bat.

It didn’t start well with Niroshan Dickwella, elevated to opener after Danushka Gunathilaka was dropped, out first ball in the opening over, ballooning a Mitchell Starc delivery to Ben McDermott.

Perera and Kusal Mendis began showing some aggression, slapping a handful of boundaries, before Kane Richardson tempted Mendis into another big shot and he was caught at deep square for 13.

But Perera dug in and along with Avishka Fernando pushed the score to 65 for two at the halfway mark. The pair built a 43-run partnership, the team’s highest of the series, before Fernando played a half-hearted chip off Pat Cummins to McDermott near the boundary and he was gone for 20.

Oshada Fernando followed soon after for six, feathering a ball to Alex Carey behind the stumps, but the aggressive Perera kept plugging away, bringing up his sixth T20 half-century off 38 balls. He finally fell for 57, top-edging a Cummins ball to Ashton Turner at mid-off, with Sri Lanka’s tail adding some crucial late runs as they ended their 20 overs on 142 for six.

Australia went into the game with Glenn Maxwell missing after the power-hitting batsmen announced on Thursday he was taking a break from cricket to deal with mental health issues. McDermott took his place while Starc returned after missing the last game to attend his brother’s wedding, with Billy Stanlake dropped.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 142/6 (Kusal Perera; Pat Cummins 2/23, Kane Richardson 2/25, Mitchell Starc 2/32) vs Australia