Hopeful Sri Lanka set to challenge Australia in second T20I

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Hopeful Sri Lanka set to challenge Australia in second T20I

Chamari Atapattu's maiden T20I century has shown Sri Lanka the way. © Getty Images

Australia downed Sri Lanka in the first match of the T20I series by 41 runs to take 1-0 lead in the series. Australia batters put on a show as the hosts finished on 217 for 4 - their second score of over 200 in the last three months. Beth Mooney started the Australian summer with a bang, smashing her second T20I ton, before Ashleigh Gardner crunched an invaluable 49.

After posting such an imposing total, if the hosts expected Sri Lanka to fold under the pressure, they were in for a surprise. As has been her way against Meg Lanning's team, Chamari Atapattu crunched 12 fours and six sixes on her way to an incredible 113 - her maiden T20I ton. Although Australia managed to keep the rest of the line-up in check, Atapattu left them looking slightly shell shocked as she crashed the ball to all corners of the park.

Aside from their skipper's efforts, the visitors were found wanting in other departments of the game. Their bowlers were largely unable to keep the Australian batting line-up in check. Barring Oshadi Ranasinghe, the off-spinner, the rest of the bowlers came a cropper. On the batting front too, no one was able to provide Atapattu with any support to help challenge the hosts. The constantly rising run rate meant Atapattu could never slow down in her quest for runs - something that eventually led to her downfall.

Come Monday (September 30), Sri Lanka will want to put on a better allround show in the second T20I at the North Sydney Oval.

While both teams largely struggled to keep the runs down on a terrific batting surface at North Sydney Oval, they will want to come in to game two with better plans. With batters able to swing through the line of the ball, and often target the shorter boundary at one end, slower balls weren't as effective as one would have thought. Megan Schutt bowled a few wonderful yorkers - one that saw the back of Atapattu - and Australia will likely take a leaf out of her book when they take the field next. Sri Lanka will do well to do the same too.

Coming in to the series, the odds were heavily stacked against Sri Lanka. Although that hasn't hugely changed after the first T20I, Atapattu has shown them that they have the skill to compete with the best. What they need now is some heart to push them a little closer.

It is not an impossible task - and that is something Atapattu will continue to repeat to her team.


Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Heather Graham, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham

Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu (captain), Harshitha Madavi (vice-captain), Shashikala Siriwardene, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunarathne, Yashoda Mendis, Nilakshi de Silva, Dilani Manodara, Oshadie Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandhika Kumari, Inoshi Fernando, Achini Kulasuriya, Udeshika Prabodhani, Ama Kanchana.