Australia 215 for 5 (Inglis 58, Marsh 52, Labuschagne 40, Maxwell 31*, Stoinis 20*, Madushanka 3-38) beat Sri Lanka 209 (Perera 78, Nissanka 61, Zampa 4-47, Cummins 2-32, Starc 2-43) by five wickets
Australia chased down Sri Lanka’s sub-par 209 with some ease, cantering to a five-wicket win in Lucknow to revive their flagging World Cup campaign. The result leaves Sri Lanka second-last on the table with three losses from three, and essentially needing only wins from hereon to stand a chance of making it to the semi-finals.
For Australia, it was a victory set up by a tenacious bowling effort, and then capped off by a chase exemplified by its clarity of thought.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that stand-in Sri Lanka skipper Kusal Mendis ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/kusal-mendis-629074) had deemed a “280-300” track, Sri Lanka got off to the ideal start with the opening pair racking up 125 runs.
But a collapse of astounding proportions saw them lose ten wickets for just 84 runs – the worst such collapse in World Cups since 2011, and Sri Lanka’s worst collapse since their inaugural World Cup game – as they were bundled for 209.
Adam Zampa ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/adam-zampa-379504) was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 4 for 47, while Pat Cummins ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/pat-cummins-489889) and Mitchell Starc ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mitchell-starc-311592) grabbed two apiece. Though special mention should go to David Warner ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/david-warner-219889) for two outstanding catches in the deep to dismiss Pathum Nissanka ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/pathum-nissanka-1028655) and Mendis, wickets which in many ways catalysed Sri Lanka’s downfall. It was also a fielding effort that was a welcome change for Australia, after their opening defeats to India and South Africa had been marked by some uncharacteristically poor catching.
In defence of their total, Sri Lanka, and particularly Dilshan Madushanka ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/dilshan-madushanka-793007), started excellently. Madushanka’s first 12 deliveries went for zero runs and two wickets, including a double-wicket maiden. While those two wickets would see the dangerous Warner and Steven Smith sent packing, Mitchell Marsh ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/mitchell-marsh-272450) at the other end offered Sri Lanka no respite.
Marsh lofted the first ball of the chase, a fullish delivery on off from Lahiru Kumara, back over mid-off and he didn’t look back. Maheesh Theekshana, brought into the attack as early as the third over after Kumara had been hacked for 15 in his opening over, was taken for a pair of exquisite boundaries, and Marsh repeated the feat in Kumara’s next over. The worst, though, was reserved for Dunith Wellalage, who was lashed for three of boundaries in his opening salvo.
It took a fine Chamika Karunaratne throw from the deep to dismiss Marsh as he looked for a tight second, but by then a third of the chase had been scratched off, and the game was well in hand. Josh Inglis ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/josh-inglis-662235) and Marnus Labuschagne ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/marnus-labuschagne-787987) then put the result beyond doubt with a stand of 77 off 86; though both fell before the finish line, Inglis notched a half-century. The finishing touches were added by Glenn Maxwell ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/glenn-maxwell-325026) and Marcus Stoinis ^(https://lotus365.today/goto/https://www.espncricinfo.com/cricketers/marcus-stoinis-325012), who entered the fray and turbo-power an already comfortable chase and romp home in the end.