Sri Lanka secured a thrilling 26-point victory over Australia, who had to complain about their weak ground and misses.
Sri Lankan pacemaker Chamika Karunaratne helped the hosts to a thrilling 26-point win over Australia in the second rainy One-Day International on Thursday.
Chasing a rain-revised target of 216 in 43 overs, Australia suffered regular wicket drops to be knocked out for 189 in 37.1 overs as Sri Lanka bounced back from their opening loss in the series of five matches at Pallekele.
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Karunaratne returned 3/47 numbers including Steve Smith for 28 and Glenn Maxwell for 30 and was ably backed up by fellow speedy Dushmantha Chameera who got the final batsman to bring the raucous crowd to their feet.
Spinners Dhananjaya de Silva, Dunith Wellalage and Chameera took two wickets each.
De Silva also scored 34 with the bat and made 61 runs for the third wicket with Kusal Mendis, who made it 36, to guide Sri Lanka to 9/220 when rain forced play to a halt and finish the innings late.
“We were missing a few points. But when we went to the field, I had the feeling and confidence that our bowlers would defend,” Shanaka said.
“Chamika is a born warrior. He delivers every time I throw the ball to him.
Pat Cummins returned numbers of 4/35 but his efforts were in vain. Australia lost fly-half Aaron Finch, 14, and David Warner, 37, to De Silva as the tourists faltered in their tricky pursuit on seemingly hard-to-beat ground.
Smith and Travis Head tried to rebuild innings and put together 31 runs before Karunaratne broke through.
Karunaratne got Smith for 28 and Wellalage’s two wickets from Head (23) and Marnus Labuchagne (18) in his two overs put the Australians in trouble at 5/132.
Maxwell fought back to unsettle the bowlers during his brief stay at the wicket, but eventually missed a shot to get caught in cover by Karunaratne. He made 30 out of 25 balls.
Wicketkeeper-beater Alex Carey was worn out for 15 as the wheels broke away from the Australian chase.
“Guys took starts and didn’t convert and that was the difference. It was unfortunate,” said Finch, whose team chased 282 in Game 1 of the series.
“To continue in these conditions where the wicket is slow and spinning is something we have to keep improving. It’s a part of the game that we could be better at.
Earlier, Australian bowlers backed their captain’s call to play first as they pulled openers within 10 overs and Sri Lanka suffered from a lack of partnerships.
Debuting left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann struck in his third international cricket match to dismiss Pathum Nissanka, who was held down for 14.
Kuhnemann returned numbers of 2/48 and took two catches.
But the Australians will regret a handful of sloppy field errors, point leaks and misses in the outfield.
The third ODI between Sri Lanka and Australia kicks off in Colombo on Sunday, with the first ball scheduled for 7pm AEST.
– with AFP