Maxwell instrumental in thrilling chase as Australia beat Sri Lanka

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Glenn Maxwell put on a show as he proved decisive in Australia's successful run chase against Sri Lanka, helping the tourists to a two-wicket victory via the DLS method.

Hosts Sri Lanka set Australia a tricky – albeit achievable – target of 301 in the first contest of a five-match ODI series after a solid batting effort and they then produced some fine performances with the ball.

But Australia, whose chase was interrupted by rain, had enough firepower to reach the adjusted target of 282 with nine balls to spare, Maxwell essential to the cause at the end with a brilliant 80 not out off 51 balls.

Sri Lanka's steady start led to Danushka Gunathilaka (55) and Pathum Nissanka (56) enjoying an encouraging opening stand of 115.

Both were out shortly after getting their half-centuries, but Kusal Mendis marshalled a middle-order recovery from 134-3 with a fine knock of 86 not out.

Wanindu Hasaranga then provided the finishing touches with a lively flurry, hitting 37 off just 19 to give Sri Lanka a competitive total of 300-7.

Australia's reply got off to a poor start with David Warner snared leg before for a duck by Maheesh Theekshana (1-51), but captain Aaron Finch (44) and Steve Smith (53) got Australia back on track with their partnership of 67 – the latter then enjoyed a stand of 54 with Marnus Labuschagne.

Dunith Wellalage eventually caught Labuschagne off the bowling of Dasun Shanaka for 24 before then claiming the scalp of Smith, his first wicket in international cricket.

Australia's momentum was further slowed by the exceptional Hasaranga (4-58) removing Marcus Stoinis (44), Alex Carey (21) and Pat Cummins (0), but Maxwell proved unstoppable, finishing Sri Lanka off with successive sixes.

To the Max

There was something so effortless and cool about Maxwell's display here. Strutting up to bat with no helmet and just a baseball cap, he had the air of an old pro rocking up for a brief but emphatic stint at his local park.

There was nothing routine about his performance, though. His external composure translated to his cricket as he approached it like a T20 game, hitting 12 boundaries (an even split between fours and sixes) in a devastating knock.

Hasaranga haul in vain

Sri Lanka certainly gave this match their all, and Hasaranga was especially fired up as he attacked Australia with bat and ball.

His fearsome flourish at the end of Sri Lanka's innings made things a little more tense for Australia, while his four-wicket haul, which included the removal of Ashton Agar in the tense closing stages, almost proved decisive.

Unfortunately for him and the hosts, however, Maxwell was just too good. On any other day, Hasaranga would surely be being championed as the man of the match.

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