Australia made it a 3-0 against Sri Lanka in the final game of the two nations’ Twenty20 series on Friday night, with attention now turning to Pakistan and perhaps a more difficult prospect.
The home side completed the crushing clean sweep at the MCG, making 3-145 after sending the visitors in and restricting them to 6-142 from their 20 overs.
Another half-century to player-of-the-match and series David Warner allowed Australia to clinch the win with 14 balls to spare in front of 28,568 fans.
Warner, who was not dismissed in three innings this series, was unbeaten on 57 off 50 balls, with four fours and a six.
On the back of his 100 in Adelaide and a 60 in Brisbane, Warner was the highest run-scorer in the series with 217, although he did benefit from some luck on Friday when he was dropped on 12.
Sri Lanka enjoyed a bright patch with three wickets through the middle overs, but never looked like causing an upset.
Skipper Aaron Finch, who was dropped on 15, departed in the ninth over for 37 from 25 deliveries.
He has scored the most T20I sixes of any Australian, moving past Shane Watson, after clearing the MCG ropes three times.
Fans hoping for some Steve Smith magic were left disappointed when he was well caught at mid-wicket by Lakshan Sandakan off the bowling of Nuwan Pradeep for 13.
Ben McDermott, who came in when Glenn Maxwell stepped away to concentrate on his mental health, failed to grasp his opportunity at No.4, trapped in front by Lasith Malinga for five.
Ashton Turner was the other batsman at the crease at the end, making a handy 22 from 15 deliveries.
Sri Lankan No.3 Kusal Perera hit his team’s highest score of the series with a well-made 57 from 45 deliveries, including four fours and one six, before he holed out trying to push the run rate off Pat Cummins’ bowling.
Cummins was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 2-23 from four overs, with Kane Richardson (2-25) and Mitchell Starc (2-32) also taking two wickets each.
The seven-wicket win follows a 134-run victory in the opening clash in Adelaide and a nine-wicket thumping in Brisbane.
During the week, captain of the Cricket Australia XI Chris Lynn warned Pakistan will be a much stiffer challenge for Australia after the world’s No.1 ranked Twenty20 team kicked off their tour with a win.
Lynn got a close look at the Pakistan side in Sydney on Thursday, as they cruised to a six-wicket victory over his Cricket Australia XI at Bankstown Oval.
Spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan are ranked No.2 and No.4 in the world, with the latter taking 3-30 on Thursday to hold the inexperienced XI to 6-134.
The world’s top-ranked T20 bat Fakhar Zaman then hit 43 off 39 in the pursuit.
“I think they’ve brought a stronger side out than the Sri Lankans,” Lynn said.
“They’ve got guys who can bowl 150 kmh and batters who are world class …
They’ve got a left arm spinner in Imad Wasim and Shadb Khan is a genius with the ball as well. Our batters will have a tougher challenge than against Sri Lanka.
Lynn also expected Pakistan to have an advantage in that the three-match T20 series will start on the drier wickets of Sydney and Canberra.