Australia failed to defend an imposing total of 291 runs in the third ODI against Sri Lanka, after Travis Head stormed home to finish with 70* off 65 balls.
Pathum Nissanka’s magnificent century put Sri Lanka in cruise control in their chase of 292 in the third ODI of the five-match series against Australia on Sunday at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Kusal Mendis was also set for a ton, but he had to retire hurt on 87. The two had put on a brilliant partnership of 170 runs from 181 deliveries after Glenn Maxwell got the wicket of Niroshan Dickwella for 25. Sri Lanka did also lose Dhananjaya de Silva, but are still in a comfortable position.
Aaron Finch scored a gutsy 62 on a tricky Colombo pitch that delivered a gripping first-innings battle between batsmen and spinners. Alex Carey added 49 and Glenn Maxwell an explosive 33 off 18, but it was Head’s gritty and composed knock that tipped the balance of the contest.
Australia made Sri Lanka pay for four dropped catches, with Finch adding 24 runs after he was first dropped, Maxwell 31, and Carey 22, while Head could have been dismissed on four runs had Sri Lanka reviewed an LBW decision.
After winning the toss and opting to bat, David Warner (9) and Mitchell Marsh (10) both fell cheaply, before Finch battled hard to reach his 30th ODI half-century.
Having scored just 17 runs in his first 30 balls, Head then took charge at the death to blast his way to 70* off 65, including three sixes in a 21-run penultimate over.