Set a target of 165 to win, Sri Lanka looked gone for all money when it was left requiring 19 runs off the final over, before the tourists’ tailenders almost pulled off the unthinkable.
Aaron Finch opted to give all-rounder Marcus Stoinis the final over of the innings and Australia looked to have the match in the bag when the tourists were left needing 12 runs to win off the final three deliveries with two bowlers, Maheesh Theekshana and Dushmantha Chameera, at the crease.
However, there would prove to be a twist. Theekshana drilled the third-last delivery, a length ball, to cow corner, with the ball seemingly stopped from crossing the boundary by a flying Steve Smith effort.
Smith dived full length and managed to grab the ball while mid-air, flinging it back into the field of play with his right hand before he landed. The landing was so brutal that a groggy Smith suffered a concussion his head thudded into the turf, one that will rule him out for the remainder of the five-match series.
However, replays showed that Smith had stepped on the boundary line before diving, giving Sri Lanka six runs and a brief glimmer of hope.
Stoinis then went for the wide yorker with the penultimate delivery of the innings and appeared to have bowled a wide, which Theekshana and Chameera ran through for a quick single as the ball went through to Matthew Wade behind the stumps.
However, umpire Rod Tucker did not make the call, leaving the tourists needing five off the final ball to force a super over.
Facing his only delivery of the match, Chameera slammed a Stoinis’ final ball, a knee-high full toss, down the ground for a boundary, leaving the scores tied at 164 apiece amid raucous scenes in the crowd.
After finishing with figures of 3-22 off his four overs during Sri Lanka’s run chase, Hazlewood was chosen for the super over and effectively sealed the match with a stupendous series of yorkers as Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka was unable to get any boundaries away.
Needing just six runs to win in response, Australia needed just three deliveries to take a 2-0 lead after a pair of boundaries from Marcus Stoinis off Wanindu Hasaranga.
Despite taking a commanding lead in the series, Finch admitted his side had gotten out of jail.
“It was great to get the win. Pretty sloppy overall though. I think we got away with one there,” he said.
“I was pretty confident in Josh Hazlewood (to bowl the super over). It was a sloppy performance in the field. We bowled some great overs, we bowled some poor overs.”
Hazlewood admitted he was confident he could get the job done after two strong performances with the ball to start the series.
“I just kept a nice clear mind,” he said.
“Had a chat with Finchy and came up with a plan of what I wanted to do. The confidence is high at the moment and nice to execute.”
It was a deflating loss for Sri Lanka, but the result did not come without some positives, namely from young opener Pathum Nissanka who finished with a brilliant 53-ball 73. It was an innings that left his skipper calling him “world class”.
“The boys showed the character,” Shanaka said.
“These youngsters take the fight on. I’m really impressed by the performance. Nissanka is a world class player.”
The two sides will meet in Canberra for the third match of the series on Tuesday night, in what is now a do-or-die clash for Sri Lanka.