Sri Lanka stuns Australia in T20 epic to send cricket world into frenzy

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Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka's epic innings against Australia left cricket fans in disbelief. Pic: Getty/Fox Sports
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka's epic innings against Australia left cricket fans in disbelief. Pic: Getty/Fox Sports

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka has sent cricket fans into a frenzy after producing what his being described as one of the greatest international T20 finishes to topple Australia in the final match of their three-game series.

Aussie captain Aaron Finch insists he is happy with his team's depth a few months out from their T20 World Cup defence, despite seeing Shanaka deny the visitors a series clean sweep in breathtaking fashion.

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A superb all-round performance from Marcus Stoinis (38 off 23 balls and 2-8 off two overs) had Australia well placed for victory, but the hosts produced a sensational finish to secure a dramatic four-wicket win.

Chasing 177 at the Pallekele Stadium in Kandy on Saturday, Sri Lanka, who failed to reach 130 in the first two games, slumped to 6-108 In the 16th over.

However, an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 69 between Shanaka (54 off 25 balls) and Chamika Karunaratne (14 off 10) propelled Sri Lanka to an improbable win as they belted 59 runs off the last three overs.

Sri Lanka still needed a whopping 19 runs off the final over to seal victory, with their captain belting a pair of fours and a towering six to level the scores.

Kane Richardson then fired down a wide for Australia to gift Sri Lanka the most extraordinary of wins that left viewers in disbelief on social media.

The Aussie quicks lost their discipline as the match wore on, with Shanaka blasting five fours and four sixes, with Josh Hazlewood conceding 22 runs in the 18th over after giving away just three off his first three.

Jhye Richardson (1-46 off four) leaked 18 off the 19th over, leaving the home team needing 19 off the last.

Kane Richardson (0-44 off 2.5 overs) started the 20th with two wides as he looked to bowl yorkers outside the off stump.

Under-strength Aussies come undone in series finale

Australia went into the game without three of their specialist bowlers in pacemen Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc and spinner Adam Zampa plus a fourth member of last year's World Cup winning side, allrounder Mitch Marsh, who missed the game with a minor calf strain.

Finch, named player of the series after scoring 114 runs at an average of 57, was happy with the depth of the team a few months out from their home defence of the World Cup.

Pictured right, Australia captain Aaron Finch celebrates with teammates during the international T20 series against Sri Lanka.
Australia captain Aaron Finch (R) was named player of the three-game international T20 series against Sri Lanka. Pic: Getty

"We've seen over the last 12 months that we haven't had a full quota of players to pick from at certain times so we've had to mix and match and we've had some really good results as well, so we're really comfortable with the depth of the team," he said.

Australia made 5-176 after Finch won the toss for the third time in as many matches.

Finch (29 off 20) and David Warner (39 off 33) got Australia off to a swift start with an opening stand of 43 off 5.4 overs.

Stoinis helped his side recover from losing wickets off three straight balls in mid-innings after they were well placed at 1-85 after 9.5 overs.

Steve Smith (37 not out off 27) made his highest score in his last nine T20I games.

Stoinis was called upon to bowl his first overs of the series and he dismissed Pathum Nissanka (27 off 25) and Charith Asalanka (26 off 19) after the home team reached 1-67 in the ninth over.

But even after taking three more wickets and looking certain winners Australia couldn't close out the game.

"Maybe we got a little bit ahead of the game and ahead of ourselves there for a second," Stoinis said.

The five-match ODI series between the two teams starts at the same venue on Tuesday.

with AAP

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