Pallekele, Sri Lanka: A terrific spell of bowling by speedster John Hastings gave Australia a chance of levelling the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka on Monday.

The big Victorian delivered an almost unheard-of spell of 3-14 off his four overs as the Sri Lankans made 9-157 off their 20 overs after electing to bat first at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.

Opener Mahela Jayawardene top-scored with a fortunate 86 which included a couple of close LBW calls going in his favour and having a catch overturned for a dubious call of a waist-high no-ball in the final over of the innings.

Needing a win to level the two-match series after a 35-run defeat in game one, things started well for Australia when Brett Lee (3-39) dismissed Saturday's century-maker Tillakaratne Dilshan LBW for just four.

Jayawardene then got stuck into Mitchell Johnson (1-35) and Lee before Australian spinners Stephen O'Keefe (1-33) and Steven Smith (1-27) reined in the scoring.

Smith even lured Dinesh Chandimal (13) to offer a simple return catch and leave the Sri Lankans at 2-66.

Johnson returned briefly to dismiss Thisara Perera (9) but Australia continued using its spinners as David Hussey (0-7 off one) also chipped in with his offies.

Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara looked dangerous as they put together a 46-run third-wicket stand before Hastings began his great run, dismissing both Sangakkara (24) and Jeevan Mendis (1) in the same over to have the hosts 5-123 after 15 overs.

The big Victorian then cleaned up vice-captain Angelo Mathews in his following over to have Sri Lanka 6-134 after 17 overs.

A great outfield catch by Smith off O'Keefe to remove Dilruwan Perera (0) continued the rot as Sri Lanka ended the 18th over on 7-139.

And Australia closed out the innings well despite the controversy when White believed he'd caught Jayawardene off Lee early in the final over only for the decision to be overturned.

The Sri Lanka opener only lasted two more balls.

(Agencies)