Success of Silverwood seal series in Sri Lanka as Australia suffers

New coach Chris Silverwood celebrated a maiden ODI series victory with Sri Lanka as his side secured an unassailable 3-1 lead over Australia in Colombo.

It ended Sri Lanka’s 30-year wait since their last home triumph in a bilateral ODI series against Australia.

Loss to Australia in the Ashes dashed Silverwood’s hopes of remaining in charge of England earlier this year, but his new side got the better of the men in yellow on Tuesday.

Responding to Sri Lanka’s 258, Australia could only manage 254, losing Matthew Kuhnemann on the last ball of their innings when five runs were needed for victory.

Charith Asalanka made an opening hundred ODIs to anchor the home side’s innings, reaching 110 before drilling just inside the deep midwicket boundary, Aaron Finch taking the bowling hook from Pat Cummins.

Asalanka lived dangerously early on, with a Cummins delivery seemingly skimming the stumps but failing to release the bonds; however, he quickly regained form and hoisted Cummins for six shortly before being the eighth man out. Sri Lanka’s main failure was falling 256-7 after 47.3 overs to their final tally.

They had recovered well from 34-3, thanks to Asalanka and Dhananjaya de Silva (60) putting 101 for the fourth wicket, but Australia imagined their task in pursuit despite losing captain Finch for a duck at third.

The tourists were firmly in the chase as David Warner remained in the crease, but someone else had to step in when the opener fell for 99 to leave Australia 192-7 in 38th place.

Test captain Cummins accepted the invite but was pinned lbw for 35 by Chamika Karunaratne late in the 49th. Kuhnemann made it a desperately tough finish for Dasun Shanaka, taking 14 of the bowler’s first five deliveries; however, the Aussie tail-ender hoisted the next delivery high and into the grateful hands of century-maker Asalanka.

The long wait is coming to an end

Aravinda de Silva was the star man when Sri Lanka won their three-game ODI home series against Australia in 1992, and it has been three decades since another such triumph has been awaited. Now it will be Silverwood’s focus to deliver performances like this consistently.

Now Australia faces questions

Sri Lanka made a mess at each end of their batting innings, but the middle order held firm. Tuesday’s success was a third successive ODI game win over Australia in the ODI, the first time Sri Lanka have achieved this since a three game streak in February and March 2012.

Australia, which lost 2-1 to Pakistan in April, lost consecutive series in the format for the first time since March 2020.

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