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Sri Lanka v Australia 2022

Pivotal wide call criticised in record-breaking Sri Lanka T20I heist

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Dasun Shanaka’s 25-ball 54* helped Sri Lanka clinch an improbable win in the third T20I against Australia, but the result could have been different if not for a controversial wide call during the penultimate over.

The incident occurred on the last ball of the 19th over when Jhye Richardson bowled a yorker well inside the tramline to Shanaka. Umpire Kumar Dharmasena, though, called it a wide, much to the dismay of the Australia fielders.

Chasing 177 to avoid a clean sweep in the T20I series, Sri Lanka were in a spot of bother, needing 59 to win off the last three overs, with Shanaka struggling on six off 12 balls. Hazlewood, who had conceded just three runs in his first three overs came on to bowl the 18th over and was smashed for 22 runs, with Shanaka hitting the quick for two sixes and two fours in four deliveries.

The first ball of 18th over, by Richardson, was sent away for a six by Shanaka, before he ran a single to give Chamika Karunarate the strike. The batter hit his second four of the night off the next ball before taking a single. Shanaka, who was on strike for the last two balls of the over, hit a four but was unable to get bat to ball on the last delivery of the over, which was eventually called a wide.

The call not only resulted in an extra run but also allowed Shanaka to take a single on the re-bowled delivery, allowing him to keep strike in the last over, with 19 needed. If the wide had not been given, the equation would have been 21 off the last six balls, with Karunaratne, the lesser batter of the two, on strike for the first ball of the 20th.

Shanaka smashed two fours and a six in the last over to seal the game for Sri Lanka, scoring 48 off his last 13 balls to complete an incredible heist. The 59 runs Sri Lanka made in the last three overs is the highest any T20 team has scored in a successful run-chase in the history of the game.

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