Sport

Cricket: Prime Minister's XI go down fighting against Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval

With Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the stands, it was Adam Voges and Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga locked in a leadership battle on the paddock.

Prime Minister's XI skipper Adam Voges was put in charge of an inexperienced group of youngsters against a Sri Lankan outfit currently sitting eighth in the ICC's international Twenty20 rankings.

Voges lost two of his main drawcards during the week in George Bailey and James Pattinson, but proved to everyone once more why he is leaving international cricket with the best Test batting average since Don Bradman.

Having tasted plenty of success with Perth in the Big Bash League, Voges led expertly with an unbeaten 54 (31) to guide the Prime Minister's XI to 6-169 in front of 7120 people at Manuka Oval on Wednesday night.

With serious doubts hovering over the Prime Minister's XI's ability to compete with an international side, they did it easily with the bat after a start in which they couldn't buy a run.

The total was more than respectable, but the class of Tharanga (47 not out) and his troops showed in spades as they brushed aside two costly dropped catches and cruised to a five-wicket victory.

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Lasith Malinga hadn't played international cricket for nearly a year, but you wouldn't have known it four balls into Sri Lanka's clash with the PM's XI.

Murmurs spread around the ground that the Canberra crowd could be in for an early night after Malinga (1-26) and Vikum Sanjaya (3-26) ripped through the home side's top order.

Things looked like going from bad to worse when Sam Heazlett picked out Seekkuge Prasanna when he was on 17 — but the catch was spilt over the boundary, and the Sri Lankans were made to pay.

Fresh off making his Australian debut before he had even turned out in a one-dayer for Queensland, Heazlett played a lone hand for much of the innings as he blasted three sixes and four fours in his 58 (37).

A lone hand at least until Voges came to the crease and made his international farewell one to remember, becoming the second-highest run-scorer in Prime Minister's XI history with a classy half-century.

Voges' knock took him to 239 Prime Minister's XI runs, leapfrogging Mike Veletta, Michael Bevan, and Richie Benaud into second on the list, behind Australian legend Allan Border with 280.​

The run chase was never in doubt, set on course by dashing opener Niroshan Dickwella who notched up 47 from 26 balls before picking out Alex Carey off the bowling of Arjun Nair.

Desperate to see the back of another Sri Lankan batsman, Voges brought back Australian ODI bowler Daniel Worrall (1-31) in a move that proved a masterstroke.

Worrall and D'Arcy Short (2-19) sparked a flurry of late wickets, but that was all she wrote as Tharanga and Prasanna secured the victory.

SRI LANKA 5-170 (Upul Tharanga 47*, Niroshan Dickwella 47; D'Arcy Short 2-19, Daniel Worrall 1-31) bt PRIME MINISTER'S XI 6-169 (Sam Heazlett 58, Adam Voges 54*; Vikum Sanjaya 3-26, Lasith Malinga 1-26). Crowd: 7120.