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Five-time World Cup winners Australia racked off an easy chase against Sri Lanka to register their first win in the 2023 edition of the tournament.
Needing to score 210 for their win, Australia shrugged off the loss of two wickets in the fourth over to seal off the victory in the 36th over for the loss of five.
While Mitchell Marsh and David Warner got off to a quick start by adding 24 in three overs, Dilshan Madushanka grabbed the latter’s wicket in the fourth to peg Australia back.
More misery followed for them as Steven Smith was trapped LBW in that very over to leave Australia tottering at 24 for two.
It was a blazing, maiden World Cup fifty off the bat of Marsh and his partnership of 57 for the third wicket with Marnus Labuschagne that brought Australia back into the encounter.
Marsh ran himself out but Josh Inglis then showed his mettle with his third career ODI fifty and guided the Aussies to an easy win in the end.
Labuschagne fell in an effort to up the ante as Australia looked to improve their net run-rate but Sri Lanka had no respite as Glenn Maxwell slammed on the accelerator from the word go to reach the target quickly.
Earlier Sri Lanka looked to have made the kind of start that should have gotten them to at least 300.
Kusal Perera, who had struggled to get going in the tournament before this, was warned twice by Mitchell Starc at the non-striker’s end but that did not faze him too.
He, along with his opening partner Pathum Nissanka laid into the Aussie attack in what turned out to be a first wicket stand of 125. It took them only 21.4 overs with Nissanka making 61 while Perera smashing 78.
100+ opening partnerships conceded in WC 2023:
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) October 16, 2023
With the foundation laid, even a slightly smart batting should have guided them to a challenging score.
Instead, from 157 for one stage, Sri Lanka fell away rapidly losing their last nine wickets for a mere 52 runs. It brought back memories of Pakistan’s collapse against India at Ahmedabad two days ago.
Adam Zampa was the wrecker-in-chief for Australia. After Pat Cummins had broken the opening stand and then sent Perera on his way as well, Zampa recovered from a 0/22 from his first three overs to grab four wickets off his next seven.
Sri Lanka, known for their solid batting against spin, failed to make their mark against Zampa, as he sent the dangerous Kusal Mendis back cheaply for starters.
Sadeera Samarawickrama fell soon after and Zampa then returned to scalp two more to finish off the Sri Lankan tail.
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