|| AFP ||
Skipper Dasun Shanaka on Thursday said Chamika Karunaratne remains a trusted performer for Sri Lanka after the fast bowler helped stun Australia by 26 runs in a rain-hit second one-day international.
Chasing a rain-revised target of 216 in 43 overs, Australia suffered from regular wicket falls to get bowled out for 189 in 37.1 overs as Sri Lanka bounced back from their opening loss in the five-match series in Pallekele.
Karunaratne returned figures of 3-47 including Steve Smith, for 28, and Glenn Maxwell, for 30, and was ably supported by fellow quick Dushmantha Chameera who got the final batsman to bring the raucous home crowd to its feet.
Spinners Dhananjaya de Silva, Dunith Wellalage and Chameera took two wickets each.
"We were a few runs short. But when we went onto the field, I had a feeling and the trust that our bowlers would defend," said Shanaka.
On man of the match Karunaratne, he said, "Chamika is a born warrior. He delivers whenever I throw the ball to him."
De Silva also scored 34 with the bat and put on 61 runs for the third wicket with Kusal Mendis, who made 36, to guide Sri Lanka to 220 for nine when rain forced play to stop and late end the innings.
Pat Cummins returned figures of 4-35 but his effort went in vain.
Australia lost their openers Aaron Finch, on 14, and David Warner, on 37, to De Silva as the tourists faltered in their tricky chase on a seemingly tough pitch to bat.
Smith and Travis Head attempted to rebuild the innings and put together 31 runs before Karunaratne broke through.
Karunaratne got Smith for 28 and Wellalage's two wickets of Head (23) and Marnus Labuchagne (18) in his two overs put the Aussies in trouble at 132-5.
Maxwell hit back to unsettle the bowlers in his brief stay at the wicket but finally mistimed a shot to get caught at cover off Karunaratne. He made 30 off 25 balls.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey was run out for 15 as wheels came off the Australian chase.
"The guys got starts and didn't convert and that was the difference. It was unfortunate," said Finch, whose team chased down 282 in the opener.
"Chasing in these conditions where the wicket is slow and spinning is something we need to keep improving on. It is a part of the game we could be better at."