Aus skipper Finch praises Maxwell for 'pure class' innings against SL in 1st ODI

PALLEKELE [Sri Lanka], June 15 (ANI): Australia skipper Aaron Finch lavished praise on all-rounder Glenn Maxwell after his unbeaten knock helped his team in defeating Sri Lanka in a rain-curtailed first ODI of the five-match series.

A powerful 80-run knock by Maxwell, backed by Steven Smith's half-century guided Australia to a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the five-match series, here at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. "It was a good game of cricket, that innings by Maxwell was pure class. Showed a lot of skill.

We were one wicket behind where we would have liked to be towards the end, but that was an extraordinary innings by Maxwell, a few more wickets in hand would have been ideal. Our execution has been slightly off. We'll keep working on our bowling," said Finch in a post-match presentation.

Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka posted a target of 301, where Ashton Agar and Marnus Labuschagne scalped two wickets each. In return, Australia started off on a pathetic note with David Warner getting dismissed by Maheesh Theekshana on a duck.

Aaron Finch and Steven Smith stitched a 67-run partnership but the former was caught by Kusal Mendis on Wanindu Hasaranga's delivery before the rain stopped the play and the target got revised to 288 in 44 overs. Labuschagne came to the crease with Smith and scored 24 runs off 31 balls but was sent back to the dugout by Dasun Shanaka in the 22nd over, leaving Australi's total at 126/3.

Despite the regular fall of wickets, it was Maxwell who stood out from the crowd and smashed an unbeaten 80-run innings in just 51 balls and brought Australia home with two wickets and nine balls remaining. For Sri Lanka, Hasaranga was the pick among the bowlers as he scalped four wickets and conceded 58 runs in 9 overs. Australia and Sri Lanka will be squaring off for the second ODI on Thursday at the same venue.