Sri Lanka clinch Melbourne thriller to welcome back Malinga

Sri Lanka claimed a dramatic final-ball victory over Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to move 1-0 up in their three-match Twenty20 global series.

Sneaking home: Kapugedera makes his ground in the dying stages.

The win puts Sri Lanka one up in the series with two matches to play in Geelong on Sunday and Adelaide on Wednesday.

"Credit to the Sri Lankans".

Cheered on by their strong local support, complete with beating drums and trumpets, Seekkuge Prasanna and Kapugedera shared in a 20-run stand off 15 balls to will their side to victory.

Niroshan Dickwella (30) and Dilshan Munaweera put on 74 for the second wicket at a rapid pace to lay a great platform for the chase. "The bowlers, though, did well to keep them to 168".

Dickwella would fall when an attempted push through mid-wicket resulted in an edge carrying to gully, and Munaweera would exit soon after when his swivelled pull shot to the leggie was caught by Finch at mid-wicket.

While Ponting is eager to bring out the best in an Australia squad that includes uncapped youngesters Jhye Richardson and Ashton Turner alongside veteran Michael Klinger, he's perhaps most excited to see how the coaching trio of Langer-Gillespie-Ponting gels together. "There are still two games left - we can win the series", Finch said.

Earlier, skipper Aaron Finch (43) and Michael Klinger (38) gave the hosts a ideal 76-run opening stand to lay the foundation for a massive score after being sent in to bat.

Klinger has been a stand-out opener in the short forms of the game for years, and was unlucky to not have stepped out for his country years ago.

Sandakan, who starred during the Test series against Australia in Sri Lanka past year, broke through by deceiving Klinger with a wrong 'un to end the 76-run opening partnership.

Finch was in an aggressive mood and appeared to be setting himself to bat deep into the innings, having reached 43 off 34 balls.

But Gunaratne took charge and his half-century turned the tide to set up the thrilling victory for the Sri Lankans. Chasing 169, Sri Lanka needed six runs off the final over but were stymied by paceman Andrew Tye's cunning bowling.

However, his one blunder in the field proved costly when he dropped Travis Head (31 from 25 ball) in a sitter of a chance at gully when the South Australian captain was only on 4.

Lasith Malinga, who has played virtually no cricket for almost a year due to injuries, was an influential figure taking two wickets in two balls and taking two catches.



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