The first-over wicket
Talk about throwing a kid to the wolves. Avishka Fernando, 18, entered this match without having played any senior cricket at all - that is, no first-class, List A or domestic T20 matches. He had impressed for Sri Lanka's Under-19s, but walking out to open against Mitchell Starc is quite another matter. Especially given Starc's record of striking in the first over of an innings. Fernando blocked his first ball but was trapped lbw from his second by a quick inswinger. It meant that for the fifth time from 10 innings across the Tests and ODIs on this trip, Starc had made a breakthrough in the first over of the innings.
Three Pereras - Kusal, Thisara and Dilruwan - played in the earlier matches of this series, but Sri Lanka's selectors decided they still didn't have enough. And so for the fourth ODI in Dambulla, they decided a fourth Perera in Angelo was necessary. Just to confuse matters further, they batted respectively at Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 10, which meant that often a pair of Pereras batted together, and sometimes one replaced another. For the record, 12 Pereras have played first-class cricket in Sri Lanka in the past year, so there is scope for an entire team of Pereras, plus one to carry the drinks. A policy of one Perera per era would make things much simpler.
The rough time
Glancing at the scorecard will reveal nothing of what Angelo Mathews went through in scoring his 40 from 71 deliveries. On 2, Mathews ducked into a bouncer from Scott Boland and was struck on the helmet, the protective flaps flying off on impact. He needed a few minutes to compose himself and receive some treatment from the physio, but Mathews batted on. Then when he was on 6, Mathews pushed a single to mid-off and had to duck to avoid the fielder's throw that whacked him in the head again. Finally, on 28, Mathews clipped one to leg and took off for a single, injuring his right calf in the process. He limped off the field to retire hurt. Mathews hobbled back out there near the end of the innings to add 12 more runs, and was the last man out from the sixth ball of the 50th over.
It wasn't easy, but it was costly. The eighth ball of Australia's innings was lofted down the ground by Aaron Finch off Amila Aponso. Thisara Perera misjudged a chance to take the catch at mid-on, having to backtrack at the last minute and thrust his hand over his head. The dropped chance came with Finch on 4. He went on to equal the record for the fastest ODI fifty by an Australian, and ended up with 55 off 19 balls.
At 131 for 3 and with Australia speeding along at more than nine an over, Sri Lanka needed wickets. Dilruwan Perera duly obliged, bowling Travis Head with an arm ball. But umpire Michael Gough asked the batsman to wait while a potential no-ball was checked. And indeed, Dilruwan had overstepped. The first no-ball of the series came four matches in, from a spinner, from a ball that took a wicket. Ouch.