Australia clinch the T20 series by fumbling and stumbling across the line

After plenty of stumbling Australia clinch the T20 series against Sri Lanka thanks to Matthew Wade once again seeing them across the line.

Australia has managed to just get over the top of Sri Lanka in a tight tussle to clinch the T20 series after only two matches. It certainly wasn't a pretty performance but sometimes it's the worst looking performances that teach you the most.

Just looking at the first half of this match it looked as if it was going the same way as yesterday's domination by the Australians. Aaron Finch once again won the toss and played almost exactly the same game plan albeit with Jhye Richardson replacing the injured Mitchell Starc.

Wickets came quickly for the Aussies which no doubt would've led a lot of Aussies fans to turn in for the night after seeing the 2/7 scoreline after 2.4 overs of the Sri Lanka innings. From there it looked like Sri Lanka could actually put together a good score thanks to both Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka.

The numbers 3 and 4 managed to get past Josh Hazlewood who somehow went wicketless through this innings, he did however only go for 16 from his four overs. It took Glenn Maxwell coming back on to make the breakthrough when a top edge came off the bat of Asalanka that Finch caught.

Kusal Mendis went only a few overs later to one of the most interesting dismissals. He tried to pull a ball from Jhye Richardson that ended up hitting him on both arms, after the hit he turn and knocked the bails off his wickets. As the saying goes 'take them any way you can get them'. From there the all too familiar Sri Lankan collapse was on.

The Richardson pair took every wicket in the rest of the match with Sri Lanka only just managing to not get bowled out, unfortunately for them, the score finished with four fewer runs than yesterday. The final seven balls of the innings yielding the figures of 4/3 for the Aussies, an almost perfect death overs display.

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So 125 would be the total required for the Aussies, it should've been pretty easy, but life isn't quite that simple.

Aaron Finch and David Warner both started well compared to yesterday, both batters looked to have a lot more flow. In fact, Finch was 16 from 9 balls before Warner launched his first ball into the stands at mid-wicket. Everything was looking good for Australia, in fact, it seemed like it might have even been an early night.

An early night it wasn't to be though, Finch was out in the third over after already putting on 24. Mitch Marsh and Warner then combined for another 20 runs with Australia scoring at more than 10 an over. In fact, it was never the run rate that was an issue it was the rate of lost wickets.

All the batters managed to at least get starts, Marsh got to 11 before he was found LBW by Hasaranga and then in the very next over Steve Smith was gone for only five. The questions about Smith's selections will still be asked after this innings, he may only have the third match of this series to prove his selection is necessary.

It was just after the powerplay that the worst wicket came for Australia. David Warner hit the ball hard into the legside and took off for two, Glenn Maxwell wasn't of the same mindset when he sent Warner back to the striker's end just as the bails were being whipped off. With the score on 4/63 after 6.2, Australia was still in the box seat but they really needed a partnership.

A partnership wasn't to be though, Marcus Stoinis also had to go only a couple of overs later when he pulled the ball straight to mid-wicket. Things started moving slightly smoother when Matthew Wade joined Maxwell, but once again it wasn't to last.

Sri Lanka decided to bowl their best bowlers first trying to put as much early pressure on Australia as possible, while runs weren't kept down the wickets came. In particularly the wickets came for Hasaranga who took the wicket of Maxwell who chipped the ball to long-off and then the wicket of Ashton Agar with successive balls.

Australia needed 26 from 48 balls when those wickets fell and once again it would be up to Matthew Wade to guide Australia home. Wade and Jhye Richardson became extremely conservative just pushing the ball around the ground to pick up the singles, it wouldn't be easy though with the Sri Lankans clearly up and about.

Eventually, though it just became too easy for the Aussies to find the gaps for ones and twos, the game was really opened when Wade drove the ball to the long-off boundary. That shot took all the life out of the Sri Lankan fielders and bowlers which then allowed Wade to cruise home with the win.

It's not often that the player of the match award goes to someone who struck only 26 at a run a ball but Matthew Wade deserves every piece of that award. Importantly for Sri Lanka, the match showed that they can compete with Australia, all they need to do now is put some decent runs on the board.

The teams now have a day off before they move to Galle for the final T20 of this series. From there the white-ball cricket continues with five ODI matches before the Test matches kick in.