WC 2015 AUS vs SL: Australia beat Sri Lanka by 64 runs, move into 2nd spot in Pool A

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Sri Lankans chased bravely, Kumar Sangakkara scored third consecutive hundred

This result means that the four-time champions avoid a detour to New Zealand during the knockout stages of the World Cup. (Photo: AP)

Sydney: Australia moved into second place in Pool A with a 64-run win over Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday. This result means that the four-time champions avoid a detour to New Zealand during the knockout stages of the World Cup. Glenn Maxwell was adjudged the Man of the Match.

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Glenn Maxwell scored his first one-day international hundred and Shane Watson posted a career-reviving 67 in a 160-stand after Steven Smith (72) and Michael Clarke (68) shared a 134-run third-wicket partnership to steer Australia to 376-9, the highest total ever against Sri Lanka at the World Cup.

The Sri Lankans chased bravely after losing Lahiru Thirimanne (1), with Kumar Sangakkara (104) scoring his third consecutive hundred and surpassing 14,000 career runs in ODIs and sharing a 130-run partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan (62).

Here's how the action unfolded

Australia skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and has elected to bat first.

The hosts have made two changes to their side, including all-rounder Shane Watson and spinner Xavier Doherty in place of Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazelwood.

Sri Lanka have also made a lot of changes to their side. They have brought in Seekkuge Prasanna, Upul Tharanga and Sachithra Senanayake in place of injured Dimuth Karunaratne, Rangana Herath and Suranga Lakmal.

Aaron Finch and David Warner opened the innings on a cautious note studying the Sydney pitch and then got the scoreboard ticking with boundaries after regular intervals. Both the openers were scoring at a decent run-rate of just above four runs per over. 

Australia and Sri Lanka have plenty of support at Sydney and fans seem to be enjoying themselves. A close contest is expected between the two teams.

Finch and Warner's short partnership was finally broken courtesy Lasith Malinga. Australia suffered its first blow when Warner was deceived by a brilliant slow delivery from Malinga, Warner offered a half-hearted push which found its way to extra-cover where Seekkuge Prasanna caught an easy one. The danger man departed for just nine runs.

Like the Australians, Sri Lanka too were off on a cautious start with only two runs off the first over. Lahiru Thirimanne, however had a disappointing day on the field after Mitchell Johnson struck in his very first over from the other end to send Thirimanne back to the dressing room. Johnson bowled a fantastic back-of-a-length delivery which cramped the Sri Lankan batsman for space. However, the extra bounce from the pitch did help and Haddin picked up the catch quite happily. Thirimanne added only one run to the total.

 

In came in veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who is in fine form in the tournament. Both these batsmen took the attack back at the Aussie pace bowlers striking boundaries with ease.

Sangakkara in the meanwhile, touched a huge milestone that of becoming the only batsman after Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar to score 14,000 runs in one-day internationals (ODI). The incredible feat was met by a huge applause from the packed Sydney Cricket Ground.

Sangakkara then cruised to his 94th half-century in legend, another feat that establishes himself a legend in this sport.

Dilshan and Sangakkara put up a 130-run partnership and the way these two were striking the balls, Sri Lanka looked to be chasing a 250-run target. But that was short lived as Australian all-rounder James Faulkner provided Australia the much needed breakthrough. Faulkner caught Dilshant lbw but the Sri Lankan batsman was not convinced at the decision and immediately asked for a review after consulting Sangakkara at the other end.

Sadly, the review was in Australia's favour and Dilshan had to walk back after scoring 62 runs off the 60 balls he faced.

Without noticing Chandimal raced to a quick 52 off just 24 balls smashing it all over SCG.

But Sri Lanka were in for a major blow as injury concerns began to haunt them again. Chandimal, who was on a roll was in a lot of trouble running between the wickets but he still wanted to carry on. And after struggling with his right hamstring Chandimal decided to retire hurt as he walked away with a heavy heart to the pavillion.

Chandimal's departure broke Sri Lank's momentum and skipper Angelo Mathews was the next to go after going at a shortish length from Watson, with the ball kissing the face as he went in for the attempted hook and Haddin caught an easy one behind the stumps. Mathews scored 35 runs.

Perera, Prassana, Tharanga and Senanayake didn't offer much resistance to the Australian bowlers with all of them almost falling like a pack of cards.

So in the end, Australia manage to hold on to a 64-run victory, despite Sangakkara, Dilshan and later on Chandimal and Mathews threatening to run this one close. Sri Lanka started the chase off beautifully before some thoughtful bowling changes, and bowling from the likes of Faulkner and Starc, ensured they held on to the win. How about a hand for Sangakkara, who became the first batsman in World Cup history to produce three tons on the trot. Chandimal's effort, before it was curbed by the hamstring niggle, seriously put Australia under the cosh.

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