Australia won four out of five game in the tournament (Image Credit: Getty Image)
New Delhi :
Aaron Finch's 153 along with a stupendous spell from Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson led Australia to a convincing 87-run win against Sri Lanka at the Oval in London. With this win, the men-in-yellow occupy the top spot in the all-important points table.
Considering the overcast conditions, Dimuth Karunaratne's decision to bowl seemed like a straightforward one. But the lack of assistance for the pacers, barring the initial few overs, and the way Australia went about it with the bat, would have left the Sri Lanka captain bereft of answers at the end of the first innings as the five-time champions, Australia went onto post a mammoth total on the board. Aaron Finch and his counterpart David Warner saw the initial overs before going after the Sri Lankan bowling.
The duo strung a partnership of 80 runs before latter was dismissed by right-arm offbreak bowler Dhananjaya de Silva. The number three batsman, Usman Khawaja didn't stay at the wicket for long as Dhananjaya scalpedsecond blood. However, Aaron Finch continued to play with maturity and stuck firmly at the wicket. Smith, on the other hand, utilised his experienced to the fullest and smashed his third half-century of the tournament.
Sri Lanka managed some damage control in the death as Finch fell in his attempt to clear the boundary off Isuru Udana while Malinga landed the yorker on the mark to clean up Smith, exacting a personal revenge having earlier been smashed for a six by the No. 4 batsman. Malinga and Udana also sneaked in four tight overs, denying boundaries and conceding only 22 runs from overs 46-49, with the latter picking up a wicket and effecting two run outs.
But the earlier damage by Maxwell, when he had managed 22 off an over which left Nuwan Pradeep with figures of 0 for 88 - the most expensive in this World Cup - and Thisara Perera's 10-run final over, helped Australia finish for 334.
In response, Sri Lanka openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera were off to a perfect start and eventually gave the defending champions a few hiccups. The duo hammered the ball all around the ground to register a century stand. However, just when it seemed like Sri Lanka is taking the game away from Australians, Kane Richardson took the first blood in form of Perera.
Karunaratne played a captain's knock to score three short of a well-deserved ton, but in the end, he fell short of a partner. The Sri Lankan batsmen found difficult to handle the pressure and were eventually dismissed for 247 runs on the board.