PALLEKELE: Australia broke the world scoring record in Twenty20 internationals yesterday as an unbeaten century by opener Glenn Maxwell helped the tourists to 263 -3 and an 85-run victory in the first match against Sri Lanka.
Asked to bat first, Maxwell smashed nine sixes and 14 boundaries for his 145 not out in 65 balls to guide Australia to its record-breaking 20-over total. The previous mark had been set by Sri Lanka at 260-6 against Kenya in 2007.
Needing more than 13 runs an over to win, Sri Lanka made a poor start, losing Tillakaratne Dilshan in the first over bowled by Mitchell Starc. The asking rate soared as Australia’s tight bowling paid off with regular wickets, limiting Sri Lanka to 178-9.
It was Sri Lanka’s heaviest loss against Australia in Twenty20 internationals, with the previous low point having been an 81-run defeat in 2010. Captain Dinesh Chandimal scored 58 for the hosts, while Chamara Kapugedera made 43.
Seamers Starc and Scott Boland had identical bowling figures of 3-26 for Australia. Maxwell’s total was also the second highest individual score in Twenty20 internationals, behind teammate Aaron Finch’s 156.
He had been dropped for the five-match one-day international series in Sri Lanka which ended last Sunday. But Australia captain David Warner said he and coach Darren Lehmann discussed givingMaxwell the chance to open the innings “Me and the coach had a word yesterday. I just thought of giving a bloke an opportunity, right hand-left hand combination, I like it at the top,” Warner said.
“To give him (Maxwell) the freedom in the first six overs to play his natural game, he knows what he has to do. Tonight it was a fantastic innings, incredible innings. Credit to him, he has worked hard… He came out today and showed what he can really do.”
Sri Lanka captain Chandimal was disappointed with his team’s bowling. “If we had restricted them to at least 220, we had a chance,” he said. “But we couldn’t do that. Credit goes to Glenn Maxwell, he batted brilliantly.”
Chandimal said he had possibly misread the pitch when he asked Australia to bat first, having expected the dew to fall in the second session – which could have made it difficult for his spin bowlers to grip the ball. The second Twenty20, the final match of Australia’s tour, will be played in Colombo on Friday. – AP