Ajantha Mendis ripped through the Australian batting line-up to turn the second T20I around on its head and in the favour of Sri Lanka. Mendis’ six-wicket haul was the best in T20I cricket as Sri Lanka beat Australia in a thrilling T20I at Pallekele to win the series 2-0.
Coming into bowl with the Aussies looking good at 71 without loss in only the sixth over, Mendis got three wickets in a span of two overs before returning in his second spell and picking up two more in the third over he bowled.
Australia, needing 158 for a win, collapsed from 71 without loss to 75 for four at one stage, and then lost two wickets at 113 to fall way behind what they were at the start.
Shane Watson seemed to have done enough with his 24-ball 57 at the start of the innings to guide his side to a win. He smashed five sixes and six fours and for long, the match looked to be going only way – in the favour of Australia.
The onset of Mendis changed all of that. Mendis had Watson mistiming a stroke to the long-off fielder, before Dave Warner was beautifully caught by a combination of Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene in Mendis’ next over. Shaun Marsh failed to read Mendis’ googly and was stumped before Rangana Herath chipped in with the David Hussey.
Australia recovered from 75 for four to get to 113 but consumed too many overs to do so and the Lankans were well and truly back in the game. Mendis came back to pick up two wickets off two balls to break the Aussie backs again. At this stage, Australia were left to score 45 off the last 28 balls.
Captain Cameron White was well-set by this stage, having hit a couple of sixes but without too much support at the other end, Sri Lanka had completed the Houdini’s act.
Mendis ended his four-over spell with figures of six for 18 and went on to win the man of the match award.
Sri Lanka had earlier got to 157 for nine, thanks to Mahela Jayawardene’s 63-ball 86, who got no support at the other end barring Kumar Sangakkara’s 24. As it turned out, it was enough for the side to win the match in the end.
Sri Lanka won the T20I series 2-0.