Swashbuckling Warner fires Aussies to victory

Newcomers Charith Asalanka (35 off 27) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (35no off 26) along with old hand Kusal Perera (35 off 25) took Sri Lanka to a competitive total that had threatened to swell larger had it not been for decisive blows from Starc and Zampa.

The Australian pair engineered a match-turning collapse of 4-16 in 16 balls.

Warner, who said this week he found reports of his bad form laughable, was imperious in cracking 10 boundaries, most with cross-batted strokes through the on-side, and treated the Sri Lankan bowlers with contempt.

Inexplicably dropped on 18 by keeper Perera, Warner nearly flattened speedster Lahiru Kumara with a blistering drive that had both bowler and umpire ducking for over.

Finch also unfurled a series of crisp strokes down the ground, including a charging drive off a 148kph offering from Kumara, in his fastest T20I innings in nearly two years.

Zampa was equally impressive; his wrong’uns proved indecipherable, including to Asalanka who had threatened to take the game away from the Aussies, as the leg-spinner remarkably conceded only singles in a spellbinding effort.

Starc delivered one of the balls tournament so far, a searing yorker that clean bowled Perera to put Sri Lanka on the ropes before Rajapaksa rescued them with a smart finishing knock.

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