In what was to be Tillakaratne Dilshan's final fling with international cricket, Sri Lanka would have hoped to give him a fond farewell. But, all great stories do not have fairy tale endings. And so it was to be with Dilshan. Sri Lanka yet again failed to put up a decent score on the board, batting first, Dilshan himself falling cheaply. And when Glenn Maxwell waltzed his way to yet another smashing innings, the result was a foregone conclusion. Sri Lanka picked up a few wickets towards the end, Dilshan himself celebrating his farewell with a couple, including one off his last ball in international cricket. But, the game was always in Australia's grasp.
The poor beginning with the bat cost Sri Lanka big way. Dilshan himself was the first to go, failing to get much power into a cut, and only managing to edge it. The others put up a disappointing show. Kusal Perera eased his was to 22 with four fours, but did not carry on. Dinesh Chandimal has been among the few who have kept Sri Lanka's batting flag flying high in the shorter formats. But, he too went cheaply on Friday. And, when Kusal Mendis was trapped lbw by Adam Zampa, Sri Lanka had crawled to 58 for 4.
Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, it was only the beginning of the collapse. Chamara Kapugedara and Thisara Perera followed Mendis back to the pavilion, to leave Sri Lanka reeling at 76 for 6. The wickets kept crumbling and, at one stage, it seemed as if Sri Lanka will not even reach three figures. But, Dhananjaya de Silva held up end up for the team, and ensured that their bowlers had an outside chance in case they struck early. His 62 from 50 helped Sri Lanka to 128.
Australia's bowlers were excellent yet again. James Faulkner and Adam Zampa both stood out with figures of 3 for 19, and 3 for 16 respectively. The duo ensured Sri Lanka never got into any sort of platform to attack. There were some good supporting acts as well. John Hastings claimed a couple of wickets while Mitchell Starc ensured he finished the tour with at least one wicket in every match, across formats.
Having been kept down to a low total, the only way Sri Lanka could have built pressure on Australia was if they got early wickets. But, Maxwell once again proved to be their nemesis. Like in the last game, he did not give the Lankan bowlers any chance to settle. And by the time he was dismissed for 66 from 29, Australia had raced to 93 in 8.3 overs. There was drama in the later overs, as Dilshan signed off with a couple of wickets. The middle order crumbled under no pressure before a Travis Head six sealed the game.
--By A Cricket Analyst