Cricket commentators had never seen anything like it as Australia had the Sri Lankan crowd cheering for them in an emotional moment.
Australia has beaten Sri Lanka in the final one-day international of the series — but the result was completely overshadowed by the crazy scenes in the crowd.
In touching scenes, many Sri Lankan supporters in Colombo wore Australia’s yellow and held banners thanking the tourists for visiting the island nation, which is battling an unprecedented economic crisis.
Finch in turn thanked the fans for being “amazing”.
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Finch’s team were given a lap of honour as sections of the crowd chanted “Australia”.
Some of the world’s cricket commentators had never seen anything like it.
Tha atmosphere certainly lifted the Aussie bowling attack that ripped through Sri Lanka to set up a four-wicket consolation win. Sri Lanka had already wrapped up the series, but the winning the Fifth ODI with more than 10 overs left in the run chase will give the Aussies some confidence moving forward.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey’s unbeaten 45 finished the job after the damage was done by the
Australia bowled out the hosts for 160, a tricky total on a bowling-friendly Colombo pitch the tourists overhauled with 10.3 overs to spare.
Meanwhile, fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and spinner Matthew Kuhnemann took two wickets each.
Chamika Karunaratne hit a valiant 75 for Sri Lanka, who won the five-match series 3-2.
Australia were in trouble at 3-19 and then 4-50 when the left-handed Carey and Marnus Labuschagne, who made 31, put on a key stand of 51 to set up the chase.
Teenage left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage took three wickets including David Warner, for 10, and Glenn Maxwell, for 16, but the left-handed Carey kept his calm.
Earlier Sri Lanka slipped to 8-85 before Karunaratne, who improved on his previous ODI best of 44 not out, and debutant Pramod Madushan put on a stubborn stand of 58 for the ninth wicket.
The tourists had quickly rattled the Sri Lankans after Hazlewood removed the openers inside five overs and finished with figures of 2-22.
Charith Asalanka was run out for 14 after a misunderstanding with his partner Kusal Mendis, who made 26 but was out hit wicket off Glenn Maxwell on the next ball.
Kuhnemann, a left-arm spinner, then struck twice in one over including skipper Dasun Shanaka for one as Sri Lanka slipped further to 8-85.
But Karunaratne fought back as he reached his maiden ODI fifty with a boundary off Cummins to celebrate with a fist pump.
Cummins finally got out Karunaratne, who hit eight fours and two sixes in his stay, to wrap up the innings.
In reply, Australia lost skipper Aaron Finch, for nought, off mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana and the in-form Warner.
Medium-pace bowler Madushan got his first international wicket after he sent back Mitchell Marsh for 24.
Wellalage, 19, got Labuschagne out lbw to break the fifth-wicket stand and then bowled Maxwell to raise hopes of another Sri Lankan fightback.
But Carey stood firm alongside Cameron Green, who made an unbeaten 25, as the pair put together 43 runs to steer the team home.
Many Sri Lankan supporters wore Australia’s gold and held banners thanking the tourists for visiting the island nation, which is battling an unprecedented economic crisis.
The hosts bounced back from their opening loss to win three in a row to clinch their first ODI series victory against Australia in more than a decade.
The two teams now head to Galle for two Tests starting June 29.
— with AFP