'This is embarrassing': Confusion reigns over 'shocking' Aussie cricket farce

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

It was an unfamiliar sight that Australian cricket fans hope to see plenty more of this summer as Steve Smith and David Warner steered Australia to a lop-sided series victory against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.

Needing just 118, Smith (53 from 36) and Warner (60 from 41) combined in their first partnership for Australia on home soil since the 2017 Boxing Day Test to get the hosts home with 41 balls and nine wickets to spare.

It was a stunning display from the much-maligned pair, but there was hardly anyone there to witness it.

David Warner and Steve Smith starred for Australia. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

Just 11,986 fans showed up to the Gabba on Wednesday night, with the empty seats a glaring eye sore.

A number of cricket commentators and fans took to social media, questioning the wisdom of playing a midweek match in October, as well as the lack of promotion for the match and series on the whole.

Cricket Australia were forced to commence the summer of cricket earlier than usual this year because of a contractual agreement to play a one-day series in India in the middle of January when they’d normally be playing at home.

Even the groundsmen appeared to forget the match was on, with a sprinkler bursting to life early in Sri Lanka’s innings.

“How does that happen?” Shane Warne said in commentary.

Aussies in fine form

Aaron Finch's side had crushed Sri Lanka by 134 runs in Adelaide's Twenty20 International series opener on Sunday, with the Gabba victory rendering Friday's final clash in Melbourne a dead rubber.

Billy Stanlake (2-23 from four overs) set the tone with a rapid spell on his home ground, while Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa all picked up two wickets.

Their joint effort meant Sri Lanka, who won the toss and chose to bat in the hope of avoiding a repeat of Sunday's horror show, were never in the game.

Not even the unplanned emergence of the Gabba outfield's pop-up sprinklers could halt Australia's charge though, Kusal Mendis tamely run-out in the second over before Stanlake's pace caused more headaches.

The second run-out of the night ended their innings after 19 overs, Cummins cleverly removing the stump with ball in hand after the bails had already been dislodged.

Only about 12,000 fans were in attendance. (Photo by Jono Searle - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Smith and Warner then eased the hosts to victory after Finch's first-ball duck, Australia securing the win thanks to a wide.

Warner's knock followed his unbeaten game one century, while Smith just appreciated the chance to have a hit after not being required in Sunday's drubbing.

"It's exciting for us, exciting for the public as well just to watch him play T20 cricket," Stanlake said of Smith after his highest T20 international score on home soil.

"They don't get to see him do that too much; he's an absolute class player, we saw how good he was tonight again."

Stanlake made the most of his call-up with Mitchell Starc granted leave to celebrate his brother's wedding.

The towering quick was regularly clocked above 145kmh as he beat the bat with sheer pace, although opener Dhanushka Gunathilaka did manage an audacious scoop for six.

Sri Lankan assistant coach Rumesh Ratnayake said the team needed to fix their attitude ahead of Sunday's MCG clash.

"Disappointed is too nice a word I think ... I'm gutted really," the veteran of 23 Tests said.

"We're going to rectify it, revisit it in meetings and see what went wrong but it's intent which I feel was not there."

with AAP