Sri Lanka levelled the five-match One-Day International series against Australia 1-1 as the visitors were outplayed with the bat and ball at Premadasa Stadium, losing the second game by 82 runs. Batting first, Kusal Mendis (69) once again spearheaded a Lankan innings, with Dinesh Chandimal (48), Angelo Mathews (57) and Kusal Perera (54) playing important parts to take them to 288. Thisara Perera (3/33) and rookie Amila Aponso's (4/18) canny displays rocked the Aussies, who folded for 206.
James Faulkner took a hat-trick late in the innings, but it accounted for precious little with the Australians continuing to squander promising situations. Twice they were on top of the Lankans in the contest, but were blown out of the contest by Chandimal-Mendis and Kusal Perera-Mathews registering hundred-run stands.
Mendis and Chandimal yet again toyed with a backs-to-the-wall situation, finding the gaps with ease, never letting themselves get bogged down. After seeing off the early threat of the menacing Starc, the Lankan batsmen used the long handle. Mendis took on Travis Head, hammering four fours in one over. Later, Moises Henriques also became a target.
It was like the ghosts from the Test series refused to let go off Steve Smith's men. In what felt like yet another case of deja vu, Chandimal and Mendis added 125 for the third wicket. Adam Zampa's delicate leg-spin pushed Sri Lanka back again. Mendis played across the line and was trapped in front.
The Sri Lankan vice-captain was dismissed in a slightly puzzling fashion. Matthew Wade missed a stumping but called for a review for leg-before. The decision went in favour of the fielding side. Zampa got a third a couple of overs later when Dhananjaya de Silva's drive went straight to Smith at cover.
Then, Mathews and Kusal Perera, who came in at no. 7, decided to throw caution to the wind. The duo worked the ball around the park for singles and twos but regularly found the fence. Mathews announced his intentions by slamming two massive sixes off Nathan Lyon in an over.
Faulkner's hat-trick and Starc's needle-like accuracy to land the ball in the block-hole halted Sri Lanka's chances of reaching 300 but the Aussies still had their work cut out; they had to fashion the highest-ever chase at the Premadasa Stadium.
Thisara Perera removed David Warner and Aaron Finch in quick succession and the visitors never found a way back into the contest. Smith looked good at the crease but his dismissal made the task difficult for Wade and George Bailey. The run-rate gradually crept up. The left-handed Wade held fort at one end but a fine combined effort from the bowlers helped the Sri Lankans to victory.
Sri Lanka 288 in 48.5 Overs (Kusal Mendis 69, Angelo Mathews 57, Kusal Perera 54) beat Australia 206 in 47.2 Overs (Matthew Wade 76, Travis Head 31; Amila Aponso 4/18, Thisara Perera 3/33) by 82 runs.