Colombo: Dasun Shanaka led from the front with a scintillating half-century as Sri Lanka edged world champions Australia by four wickets in the third and final Twenty20 International to avoid a series whitewash today.
Chasing 177 for a consolation win after being outplayed in the first two matches, Sri Lanka were in the doldrums at 108-6 in the 16th over of their innings in Kandy.
Shanaka then exploded with the bat to put the pressure back on Australia with Sri Lanka needing 19 runs off the last over from Kane Richardson, who buckled under the pressure.
Richardson began the over with two wides and Shanaka hit him for back-to-back boundaries and followed it with a six to level the scores.
Third wide ball
Sri Lanka’s victory was sealed when Richardson sent down a third wide ball of that over, triggering celebrations at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Shanaka’s unbeaten 54 came off 25 balls and included four sixes and five fours.
Earlier, Australia posted 176-5 after skipper Aaron Finch (29) won the toss and combined with David Warner (39) to give the tourists a strong start.
Marcus Stoinis contributed 38 down the order, while Steve Smith scored 37 not out to help Australia post a decent total.
Stoinis shone with the ball too dismissing Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka but Shanaka’s spectacular onslaught means Sri Lanka will carry some confidence into the five-match one-day series between the sides beginning on Tuesday.