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New skipper Mathews lifts Lankans to easy win

  • Sri Lanka vs Australia 1stT20 – Sydney

New T20 skipper Angelo Mathews led from the front with an unbeaten 35 to help steer Sri Lanka to a comfortable five-wicket win in the opening Twenty20 international against Australia.

Chasing a target of 138 in Sydney, the Lankans rarely looked troubled and shared the runs around on their way to achieving victory with seven balls to spare.

Australia’s innings of 137 for three was built around a scintillating 90 not out from opener David Warner, but the total never looked like it would be enough against the world’s top-ranked T20 side.

The home side lost Aaron Finch (one), Shaun Marsh (six) and captain George Bailey (11) cheaply to slide to 53 for three after nine overs.

But Warner proved to be a handful at the other end of the crease and bludgeoned his way to fifty off 37 balls, including four boundaries and a six.

His 84-run partnership with Adam Voges, who was unbeaten on 25, helped Australia post a more competitive total but Sri Lanka’s batsmen quickly set about wiping it out.

Openers KushalPerera and TillakaratneDilshan enjoyed an opening stand of 46 before the latter fell on 16, edging a ball from Xavier Docherty to a retreating Ben Laughlin at point.

Perera (33) saw his stay ended by Glenn Maxwell seven balls later, with Dinesh Chandimal (five) and MahelaJayawardene (eight) then falling in quick succession to cause some stutters in the Lankan innings.

However the Lankans demonstrated why they are ranked as the leading team in this format with a steady 35-run partnership between Mathews and LahiruThirimanneot them back on track once again.

Thirimannewas dismissed on 20 to a delivery from Mitchell Starc, but then Mathews and ThisaraPerera (19no) – two of the best finishers of the game – calmly saw the Lions home with plenty to spare.

The second and final match of the series is scheduled for Monday in Melbourne. The Lankans will be hoping their visit to the MCG will be third time lucky for them after their two previous visits for a test and ODI game ended in disasters.

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