Australia skipper Aaron Finch’s poor run with the bat, which has dogged him since the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE, might have contributed to the team’s defeat against Sri Lanka at Pallekele on Thursday night, but the 35-year-old blamed collective fielding and batting for the 26-run (DL) loss, which allowed the hosts to equalize the series at 1-1.
Finch was the first Australia batter to depart on 14, and later a well-set David Warner was unlucky to lose his wicket on 37, denying the tourists the start they would have wanted in the chase. Four Australian players fell in the 20s and 30s after making confident starts, while Finch (14), Marnus Labushchagne (18), and wicketkeeper-batter Alex Carey (15) too fell cheaply.
Finch, whose string of poor scores continued in the Indian Premier League as well, said post-match that chasing was an area his side will look to improve as the five-match ODI series progresses.
“The fielding, we were very poor. Guys getting starts and not going on, similar to the last game. It was very poor (in the field)… we could have attacked the ball more. Chasing in these conditions is something we need to keep improving on. Tonight showed we were off the pace a bit,” said Finch.
Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka said that despite his side not managing a very competitive score, he was confident his bowlers would be able to defend the total.
“The Australians bowled really well so were short a few runs…but had a good feeling my bowlers would defend the target. We need to come up with the right options (with the bat). Chamika (Karunaratne) is a born warrior and whenever I throw the ball he delivers. I had a lot of trust in (Dunith Wellalage) as well. When I threw the ball he’s ready to take the chance.”
Karunaratne ended up with figures of 3/47 in seven overs.
Karunaratne, who was adjudged Player of the Match said, “After a long time I was waiting for this moment. I know I can do well and it’s come today and I’m so happy about it. Everything is planned…I’m always thinking out of the box. I’m always challenging batsmen. I always like to take a risk.”