A half century to opening batsman Ben McDermott and four wickets for Josh Hazelwood has guided Australia to victory in the opening match of their Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.
- Ben McDermott (53) and Marcus Stoinis (30) top-scored for Australia
- Sri Lanka staged a fightback with the ball, restricting Australia to 9-149
- In his return to international cricket, Josh Hazelwood took four wickets
In front of a modest crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia won the opening match of the five-game series by 20 runs.
McDermott, who starred for the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL this summer, scored 53 off 41 deliveries, as the hosts finished their 20 overs at 9-149.
Hazelwood was brilliant in his return to the international stage, taking 4-12 from his four overs.
Speaking on ABC Sport, Hazelwood said he was pleased to be back out on the field in a competitive international game.
“It was quiet even between bat and ball,” he said.
“I think they’re a very good outfit. They’re a dangerous outfit.
“There’s a few things we can work on from tonight.”
Despite captain Aaron Finch falling for just 8, McDermott and Josh Inglis guided Australia to 1-80 halfway through the innings.
But the fall of Inglis for 23, who was bowled by Chamika Karunaratne, started a batting collapse for the home side.
Wanindu Hasaranga was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers with figures of 3-38, with Binura Fernando restricting Australia scoring with figures of 2-12.
A quickfire 30 from Marcus Stoinis lifted Australia to 9-149, setting Sri Lanka a tough but possible run chase.
A rain delay in the middle of Sri Lanka’s innings meant they needed 143 runs from 19 overs.
Hazelwood and Cummings struck early for the Australians taking the wickets of Danushka Gunathilaka, (1) and Avishka Fernando (6) in the opening four overs.
The Australian bowlers continued to apply pressure on Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka as the run rate slowed for the visitors.
Nissanka’s innings should have been over when he was on 16 when he lobbed a ball from the bowling of Marcus Stoinis to Pat Cummings at mid-on.
What should have been a regulation catch was dropped by Cummings, which gave the opening batsman a second chance.
Nissanka and Asalanka staged a mini fightback in the ninth and 10th overs, pushing the run rate and leaving themselves a target of 90 runs from the final 10 overs.
But leg-spinner Adam Zampa broke through in the 11th over, taking the wickets of both Nissanka and Asalanka to blow the game open for Australia.
Zampa took the wicket of Wanindu Hasaranga in the 15th over shortly before a rain delay.
Two more wickets for Josh Hazelwood capped off a successful return to international cricket, after missing the final four Ashes Tests.