Head heroics give AUS 291-6 in third SL ODI


COLOMBO: Travis Head smashed 70 as Australia braved a spin onslaught by Sri Lanka to reach 291-6 in the third one-day international in Colombo on Sunday.

With the five-match series level at 1-1, Australian opener David Warner went for nine in the third over, top-edging a Dushmantha Chameera bouncer to Maheesh Theekshana at fine leg.

Back from injury, Mitchell Marsh struggled to get going and departed for 10 off 23 deliveries, caught at cover by Kusal Mendis after a slower delivery by Dunith Wellalage.

Marnus Labuschagne came in at number four ahead of Head and he and Aaron Finch added 69 before Labuschagne was stumped by Niroshan Dickwella off Jeffrey Vandersay for 29.

Two overs later, Vandersay bagged Finch too, with the Australian captain edging the spinner to a diving Dhananjaya de Silva at slip having made 62 off 85.

Head and Carey added 72 runs before de Silva trapped Carey leg-before on the front pad trying to sweep, having made a quick-fire 49 off 52 deliveries.

Glenn Maxwell did some damage, smashing 33 off 18 before giving Vandersay his third wicket, miscueing the spinner into the hands of Wellalage scurrying back from midwicket.

But Head stayed firm, reaching his half-century and smashing Wellalage for three sixes in the penultimate over and ending 70 not out off 65 deliveries, with Cameron Green unbeaten on 15.

Vandersay ended with figures of 3 for 49.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first.

Already missing Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson and Mitchell Starc, Australia left out Steve Smith after the batsman injured his left quad batting in Thursday┬┤s 26-run defeat in Pallekele.



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