Sri Lanka beat Australia from the final ball in Melbourne

17 Feb 2017 12:54

Sri Lanka scrambled a five-wicket win over Australia from the final ball in Melbourne to go 1-0 up in the three-match series, following a maiden Twenty20 International half-century from Asela Gunaratne.

Against a home team containing three debutants, in the absence of several first-choice players in action on Australia's Test tour of India, Gunaratne (52) hit seven fours from 37 balls.

But after he and fourth-wicket partner Milinda Siriwardana had fallen to previously-uncapped off-spinner Ashton Turner in the space of three deliveries in the 18th over, at 11.18pm local time it fell to Chamara Kapugedera to hit the last ball of the match for four past cover off Andrew Tye - with the scores already level on 168.

Sri Lanka's veteran fast bowler Lasith Malinga had earlier marked his first international appearance in almost a year by taking two wickets in two balls and also holding two catches.

Aaron Finch passed 1,000 T20 International runs before mistiming a skier to Malinga running in from fine-leg in Gunaratne's only over for the hosts' top score of 43 - after an opening stand of 76 with Michael Klinger, the Gloucestershire batsman making his international debut at the age of 36.

As Australia lost a little momentum after being put in, Malinga put himself on a hat-trick in the 19th over thanks to two catches from Seekkuge Prasanna - and the hosts finished with six wickets down.

Sri Lanka then lost captain Upul Tharanga for a duck to the pace of Pat Cummins. But 24 runs came from Billy Stanlake's second over - and although Adam Zampa got rid of second-wicket pair Niroshan Dickwella and Dilshan Munaweera following their partnership of 74, and despite Turner's late intervention, Sri Lanka were still just ahead of the game.