Australia’s tour to Sri Lanka came to a close with a stunning victory for the home side in front of a febrile atmosphere in and outside Galle’s International Stadium. After fighting tooth and nail across all three formats- T20s, ODIs and Tests- there was little to separate the two sides. The Aussies took home the T20 series 2-1, while Sri Lanka hit back to claim the 50-over skirmishes 3-2. After losing heavily in the first test, a depleted Sri Lanka roused themselves to level the two-match contest, 1-1. Riding on Man of the Series Dinesh Chandimal’s thrilling double century and debutant Prabath Jayasuriya’s magical spell of 12/177 across two innings, the island nation handed Pat Cummins & Co. a 39-run innings defeat.

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Australian opener David Warner warmed to the Sri Lankan hospitality. Despite the bruising economic crisis that has spread across the island and the widespread protests against the incumbent government, the Lankans extended their warmest selves to the touring party. It was in evidence during the 5th ODI when Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium- swathed in yellow- cheered the visitors to the rafters.

Taking to Instagram, the ebullient batter penned an emotional message for the peoples of the host nation:

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A post shared by David Warner (@davidwarner31)

“Thank you Sri Lanka for hosting us here during what is an extremely difficult time. We are so grateful to be able to come here and play the game we love and know you all love supporting. You have opened your arms up to us and we will never forget this trip. What I love about your amazing country is no matter the circumstances you always have a smile on your face and are always so welcoming. Thank you and I can’t wait to one day visit for a holiday with my family,” gushed the southpaw.

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The Aussie struggled to make much of an impact in the tests, twice breezing into the twenties before falling unceremoniously.