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Dramatic win in Dambulla for Aussie captain Warner

first_imgIt’s loud, with people cutting holes in the fence to get in at the corner of the ground where there are banks for standing.During his countless skirmishes with authority did Australia’s newest leader imagine this would be his fate? It is now. Nerves? Good luck telling with a bloke who bills by the hour in bravado.He calls heads, it falls tail. They’ll bowl, despite his acknowledged wish to do otherwise. “Looks a nice wicket,” Warner concedes.This is Dave’s Day One: how it happened, as it happened.3pm – Sri Lanka 2-42, 6 overs: Tillakaratne Dilshan 14, Dinesh Chandimal 15Fast, full and straight. Stumps pegged back. Mitchell Starc’s first over party trick really isn’t a bad one, nursing Warner nicely into this captaincy caper. Take a load off, Danushka Gunathalika.As much as this is Warner’s day, it’s also Tillakaratne Dilshan’s, this the 330th and final time he will walk out in a Sri Lankan ODI. To give a sense of the 39-year-old’s longevity, he debuted for Sri Lanka when the Millennium Bug was still a real and present danger.His presence gets the crowd going, now climbing trees in the outer in a throwback to simpler times. More by the moment as Dilshan dispatches a Starc half-volley then takes a ball from well outside off-stump to the rope on the other side of the ground as a reminder that convention has never been his thing.Meanwhile, Hazlewood’s return to favour earned Warner’s men a reward eight deliveries into his day. The bustling Bendemeer boy drew Kusal Mendis forward and prodding, the captain doing the rest at second slip.Arguably the most important local wicket. So far so good, even if new man Dinesh Chandimal’s driving looks on point.4pm – Sri Lanka 3-96, 19 overs: Dinesh Chandimal 36, Angelo Mathews 0A captain’s dream, John Hastings. Almost a year since his most unlikely return to international cricket, he’s back to toil on a belter of a track – what he does best. A maiden first up, and two from his second over, completely stunting any flow Dilshan and Chandimal built in their productive Starc counterattack.James Faulkner helped – only one boundary in the final four overs of the power play. The game is just where Warner needs before the accumulation phase: slow.Hastings and Faulkner’s initial four over forays conceding nine and 14 respectively preceded the introduction of Adam Zampa. His also-frugal beginning encouraged the incorrigible, Dilshan, following up an effective sweep with a nonsense chip to midwicket. After 10,920 runs, there would be no more with a 360-degree goodbye to the adoring fans.5pm – Sri Lanka 5-143, 32 overs: Dinesh Chandimal 62, Kusal Perera 5Zampa’d. That’s what Angelo Matthews was. He was Zampa’d. Handy to have a trademark with fewer than nine months’ international experience, but this is what it is to be trapped by the wrist spinner by a straight one colliding with leg stump via your pad. Usually after a DRS referral.Scoring just one, the Sri Lankan skipper had failed. The advantage to his counterpart should have been augmented when the reintroduction of Hazlewood brought another high-on-the-bat edge. It wouldn’t be: Warner grassing the straight-forward chance off Chandimal. It all went down when he was on 41. Might hear about that again? Feels that way; he’s beyond 50 now for the sixth time in his last seven starts.At least his seamers are doing the job. Nicely rotated to let Zampa at it from one end, short burts from Starc then Faulkner then Hastings are all effective, the locals now well behind the game. When Dhananjaya De Silva holed out, 30 had been added in 54 balls for the fourth wicket. They’re languishing.6:20pm: Sri Lanka all out 226, 49.2 oversStarc back: his in-swinging yorker again hits stumps, this time Kusal Perera’s. Rinse and repeat. The auxiliary quicks Hastings and Hazlewood continued to be tidy as a hotel bed, the former into the book when Thisara tried to slog his simple slower ball. Loved it too, the triumphant bowler.For all this middle-overs graft happy hour is never fun for the captain between sums and field tweaks and general chaos. But when Zampa came back and immediately had Seekkuge Prasanna out slapping as well, maybe they could shift them before 200?That would require shifting Chandimal first. The man Warner dropped continued his shrewd accumulation while Dilruwan Perera took on the attack. Warner had a chance to end the stand, missing a run out opportunity with three stumps to aim at, the target now beyond 200.Finally, the last of the three Perera’s gone when Hastings had him swatting to midwicket, the skipper again in the game with the catch, the quick finishing with orderly figures of 2 for 42.A Chandimal single to deep cover brings up his ton. He had a chance, sure. But integral in getting the hosts to a credible total. He finally packed it in without adding to the century, Australia’s death-over specialist Faulkner collecting the last, 2 for 44 his fine afternoon.All told, just about the perfect bowling performance to dine on with the best of them Zampa, claiming another 3-for, conceding only 38. He has skills.8pm – Australia 3-83, 17 overs (Bailey 19, Head 21)Amila Aponso hadn’t been hit for boundary of any variety in his only two ODIs to date, pocketing a man of the match in Colombo as well. Aaron Finch’s response? Hitting him over the cover rope first ball he bowled. That’s intent to match a solid start.But then… oh how Warner may rue that cut that wasn’t quite, caught at point, dismissed by his opposing number Mathews for 10. Dilshan with the snaffle – would it be right him for him end up a winner tonight, the retiring champion?That romantic narrative is helped by Finch, who won the first Aponso battle but comprehensively lost the war within a quarter hour, the second to fall when trapped LBW on 30. And Shaun Marsh. He may not always get out early, but when he does it sure looks awful with the catch he gifted to mid off defying a man of his talent through that region.So Bailey to do the tidy up work from three-for-not-enough again, then. This time with Travis Head, elevated to the top five and off his training wheels; he has expectations on him tonight. And he looks up for it with a cut shot reminiscent his coach Darren Lehmann.9pm – Australia 4-165, 33 overs (Bailey 54, Wade 27)Bailey and Head, Head and Bailey. A 50 stand, then the youngun’s highest international score when smashing Thisara Perera through midwicket. But when bowled on the back foot cutting at spin in the way the Test side learned the hard way that you can’t in these conditions, he was gone for 36 when 56 or 76 was needed to guarantee a win. Even so, another innings of some presence. More, please.Bailey and Wade, Wade and Bailey. The two from the stoic stand on Wednesday. Boundaries to each; Bailey’s reversing Aponso, Wade dancing Perera of the off-spinning variety. A review denied to save Wade, another reverse sweep from Bailey, then a cut to bring up his own 50. That should do it, from the guy who used to stand in as captain. Easy from here. Right?10:04pm – Australia win by two wickets with 24 balls to spareNothing is ever easy, you fool. Wade had been a stumping candidate throughout, and missing a sweep he was finished for 42. Very handy runs, and another step in the right direction.But platitudes are forgotten when Bailey from nowhere let’s one skip through off his pad onto his off stump on 70. A vital 70. The defining innings of the match, assuming they don’t mess it up. Four balls later, though? A filthy holing out from the guy who is meant to eat up these chases for dinner, James Faulkner. Uh oh.Balls left no longer the issue, 21 to get with three wickets in hand is the only equation. But all bowlers. Thankfully one is Starc, who long-handles over the long on boundary. Then the next over picks out the same spot, albeit on the bounce this time. Home now, yeah? Not that quick. Next ball, he is caught at that identical long on position. Here we go…Blimey, Adam. Zampa is deep in the crease and cutting off his stumps, but gets enough wood on a ball that otherwise would certainly have bowled him. The result was secured, even if the same player was dropped when the scores were level, appropriately enough. Phew.”To be brutally honest, we should have won that five wickets down,” said Warner when it was all over, reflecting on the 2-1 lead his side take into the final pair of rubbers. He may be new, but he’s spot on. With this bloke in charge, it will always be worth watching.last_img

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