Colombo: Spin bowling allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga said Sri Lanka must resolve the “weakness” in the lower half of their batting order ahead of this year’s Twenty20 World Cup after they were held to paltry totals in two matches against Australia.
World champions Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series after restricting Sri Lanka to 128 and 124 in the first two matches in Colombo.
“There’s a weakness in our lower-middle order and lower order,” Hasaranga said after Wednesdays’ three-wicket loss.
“Right now, they are a little bit out of form, and we have to accept that.
“Our target is the World Cup. If we can add 10% more on the batting side in the next match, and in the series coming up, we’ll be in a much better place.” Hasaranga claimed 4-33 to reduce Australia to 99-7 in the second match but Sri Lanka’s small total meant the tourists still prevailed with 13 balls to spare.
“If we can make a close match out of a match like this when they were just chasing 125, that means our bowling is in good shape,” the 24-year-old leg-spinner said.
“I think by October we will get better as we play more and more matches.” Pallekele hosts the third and final Twenty20 on Saturday.
Chasing 125 to win, Aaron Finch (24) and David Warner (21) got Australia off to a superb start with a 33-run stand for the first wicket in 16 balls.
Australia lost a few quick wickets and was at 80 for five needing 45 runs to win. But the T20 world champions had plenty of overs left and batting to come.
Despite leg-spinner Hasaranga claiming four wickets, wicketkeeper Matthew Wade kept his nerve to see Australia through with an unbeaten 26. When Ashton Agar fell without scoring as Hasaranga picked up two wickets in two balls, Australia still needed 26 runs to win. Wade and Jhye Richardson finished off the run chase with 13 deliveries to spare.
“We know that when Sri Lanka get into a roll, they are tough to stop,” Wade said. ‘‘Bit of pressure towards the end and great to get over the line. I knew their spinners had only four over left and wanted that to be over. Run rate was not an issue and I had to make sure that I waited till the end.’’
The clinical performance showed why Australia is a strong contender to win the world title later this year again when it hosts the tournament.
‘‘I think 20 more runs would have done the job for us,’’ Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka said. ‘’Very disappointed as we were not able to capitalize at the end. Today we lost top order wickets early and playing the conditions was very important and we didn’t do that today.”
The Twenty20 World Cup will be played in Australia in October-November.