Colombo [Sri Lanka], June 22 (ANI): Following his side's painful four-run loss to Sri Lanka, Australian captain Aaron Finch said that they let the game slip out of their hands by losing wickets even though the run rate was in control.
Charith Asalanka scored a match-winning ton, helping Sri Lanka make history by guiding them to a thrilling four-run win over Australia in the fourth ODI at Colombo and also to their first bilateral series win at home over the mighty Aussies in three decades.
"The series has gone the same way. Every time we looked like getting a partnership we kept losing wickets. They made use of the opportunities. I do not think bowling first made a difference. The total was gettable. The run rate was in control but we lost wickets and let it slip out of our hands. If someone had played for David Warner for 5-6 more overs that could have been a match-winning partnership," said Finch at the post-match presentation.
It was a closely contested match at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, with every result possible till the very last ball. Ultimately, it was the Lankan Lions that emerged victorious and clinched the five-match series by 3-1, with one more match to go.
Put to bat first by Australia, Sri Lanka did not have an ideal start, losing Niroshan Dickwella (1), Pathum Nissanka (13) and Kusal Mendis (14) by the time team scored 34.
It was then Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka who rebuild things for the Lankans. The duo took Aussie bowlers to attack, forming a useful 101-run stand, which ended after all-rounder Mitchell Marsh sent back Silva to the pavilion for 60 off 61.
On the other hand, Asalanka put up a brave fight against the Australians. He kept one end steady while the wickets kept falling at the other end and smashed his maiden ODI century. He ultimately fell to pacer Pat Cummins for 110 when the team's score was 256.
With efforts from Asalanka, Dunith Wellalage (19) and Wanindu Hasaranga (21), Sri Lanka was able to reach 258 runs before they lost all their wickets.
Pat Cummins (2/37) and Mitchell Marsh (2/29) were the stars for Aussies with the ball. Matthew Kuhnemann and Glenn Maxwell also got two and one wickets respectively.
Chasing 259, Australia lost the opener and captain Aaron Finch for a duck in the third over. Then it was David Warner and Mitchell Marsh who formed a 63-run stand to revive the chase for their side. The stand ended with Marsh falling to the spinner Wellalage for 26.
Marnus Labuschagne (14), and wicketkeeper Alex Carey (19) could not really do a lot with the bat. Travis Head (27) formed another valuable 58-run stand with Warner before falling to De Silva for 27. By this time, half of the Aussie batting was back to the pavilion at a score of 189.
Two quick scalps of Glenn Maxwell (1) and David Warner, who fell one-run short of his century, swung the momentum in favour of the Lankans, reducing Australia to 192/7.
All-rounder Cameroon Green (13) and Pat Cummins tried to bring back Aussies into the game, stitching a 31-run stand which ended with Green falling to spinner Jeffrey Vandersay. In the 49th over, Cummins also fell for a fighting 35, reducing Australia to 240/9 in 48.5 overs.
The equation was down to 19 needed from last over. Matthew Kuhnemann tried to take his team to the win, but fell four runs short after falling for 15 to captain Dasun Shanaka in the final ball of the match after he was caught at the covers by Asalanka.
Spinners Dhananjaya de Silva (2/39), Jeffrey Vandersay (2/40) and pacer Chamika Karunaratne (2/19) shined for the Lankans with the ball.
Asalanka was adjudged as 'Man of the Match' for his match-winning ton. (ANI)