A sensational bowling effort by Josh Hazlewood (4/16) followed by a dominating batting performance by David Warner (70 not out off 44) and Aaron Finch (61 not out off 40) led Australia to a convincing 10-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first ODI of the three-match series at R Premadasa Stadium, here on Tuesday.
Apart from Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc (3/26) also picked crucial wickets as Australia bowled out Sri Lanka for 128-10 in 19.3 overs.
With such a low total to defend, Sri Lanka didn’t have many options but to attack with spin upfront. So, Maheesh Theekshana opened the bowling and Wanindu Hasaranga bowled the fifth over, only for the latter to concede 19 runs in what was the most expensive over in the match.
David Warner raced to a 32-ball fifty as Aaron Finch played second fiddle, bringing up his fifty off 37 balls much later in the rain-punctuated game. Australia brought up their 100 in the 12th over and was able to overhaul the under-par target in 14 overs with 10 wickets in hand.
Earlier, put into bat first, Sri Lanka was off to a solid opening partnership as they scored 59 for 0 in the Powerplay. Pathum Nissanka (36) was the first to be dismissed, ending his 61-run stand with Charith Asalanka but it didn’t affect Sri Lanka’s innings much as the hosts got to 100 for 1 in the 12th over.
But, Hazlewood returned in the 14th over and produced Sri Lanka’s downfall. The pacer struck with his first ball, getting Kusal Mendis caught at cover. A couple of balls later, Bhanuka Rajapaksa edged one to the keeper while Hazlewood’s third was the big fish Shanaka, who was trapped right in front.
It wasn’t just Hazlewood, Sri Lanka also had two batters in Charith Asalanka (38 run out) and Chamika Karunaratne run out to push themselves deeper into the hole. Both runouts happened in the space of four balls which brought chaos for Sri Lanka in the middle overs.
Starc then came back on and helped wrap things up with a couple of wickets in the 19th over. The hosts in effect never really recovered from that over by Hazlewood and were bowled out with three balls left in the innings.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 128 all out in 19.3 overs (Asalanka 38; Hazlewood 4-16, Starc 3-26) lost to Australia 134/0 in 14 overs (Warner 70 not out, Finch 61 not out) by 10 wickets