Dasun Shanaka gave away 15 runs in the final over while defending 19, and gave Sri Lanka a proper scare despite dominating the match for the larger period.
File photo of Dasun Shanaka. (Courtesy: Reuters)
- Matthew Kuhnemann hit Shanaka for 15 runs in the first 5 balls
- Sri Lanka scored 258 runs
- SL spin quartet ran circles around Australia batters
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka has defended himself on his decision to bowl the final over against Australia, which saw him give away 15 off the final 19 runs. The fourth ODI between Sri Lanka and Australia turned out to be a low-scoring thriller, with batters from either side failing to cut lose in spin-assisting conditions.
Sri Lanka’s neat bowling performance meant that Shanaka had 19 to defend in the final over, an ample amount of runs for any bowler at that point in the game. With the pitch gripping and spinning, everyone thought that Shanaka was going to get away with bowling cutters, but the captain chose to go full and hard.
Australian spinner, Matthew Kuhnemann came out swinging against the SL captain and hit him for 14 off the first five balls. As Sri Lanka’s bowling strategist, Lasith Malinga fumed outside the boundary, a lengthy chat between the players calmed Shanaka’s nerves down, resulting the final ball in an off cutter. With Kuhnemann going hard at the ball, it lobbed up in the air, and got grabbed by Charith Asalanka at point, winning SL the game by 4 runs.
“After Chamika bowled that over we had a discussion about bowling a spinner but it was the right idea to challenge myself. I was very confident about the score. We were 34 for 3 at one stage and Charith and DDS put on a really good partnership and unfortunately we were not able to capitalise at the end. But I was very happy with the score we were able to put on,” Shanaka said at the post-match presentation.
Speaking about Sri Lanka’s first home series win in ODIs in 30 years, Shanaka said that it gave confidence to him and his team.
“Not only for me, my teammates, Sri Lanka cricket, the whole country, this is much needed at the moment. I think this should be celebrated by the whole of Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka will now be facing Australia in a dead rubber, but will hope to pick up crucial 10 points for the ODI Super League.