Mitchell Marsh played a captains innings to help Australia sneak into the under 19s World Cup finals at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval today. Marsh was a cut above the rest with his wide range of strokes, but he fell three runs short of a well deserved century in the second semifinal game against Sri Lanka. Defending a small total of 205 runs the Sri Lankans fought hard and nearly deprived Australia a berth in the finals. Credit to the young Sri Lankan side, they never gave up and fought to the end, while Australia won the game only in the 49th over losing 8 wickets in the process.
Sri Lankan Captain Chathura Peiris won the toss and decided to bat first on what seemed a good pitch. Sri Lanka lost 5 top order batsmen for 32 runs by the eleventh over of the morning. Seam bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Alistair McDermott bowled in the right areas with good pace and bounce. The Sri Lankan top order batsmen were tentative against the tall Australian fast bowlers and got themselves out by playing away from the body.
Akshu Fernando and Kithruwan Vithanage batted with determination to put on 56 runs for the sixth wicket. Nick Buchanan broke the partnership by getting Vithanage to hook a short pitch delivery, and had him caught by Jason Floros at deep square leg, and Sri Lanka lost their 6th wicket with the score on 88.
Akshu Fernando and skipper Chathura Peiris helped Sri Lanka to get to a respectable score of 205. Akshu made a well compiled 52 while skipper Peiris made a valuable 39. Peiris was involved in two good partnerships. The left hander batted along side Akshu Fernando and compiled a partnership of 54 runs for the 8th wicket. He also accumulated 26 runs for the 9th wicket with tail ender Jaleel that helped Sri Lanka to total 205, after the early loss of 5 wickets for 32 runs.
Australia’s ground fielding, catching and bowling was clinical. They came with a definite plan and executed their objective to perfection by restricting the Sri Lankans to a low total. The fast bowlers were very impressive while Louis Doran the left arm spinner accounted for two vital wickets.
Many experts predicted a one sided game based on the small target and the pitch condition. Sri Lanka proved all of them wrong. The Australians were 93 for five wickets at one stage. The game was wide open. Mitchell Marsh the Australian captain played his best innings of the tournament by scoring freely and with great authority for his 97. He compiled a match winning partnership of 78 runs for the 6th wicket with Tim Triffett.
Marsh was brilliantly caught and bowled by Rumesh Buddika for 97 and the game was wide open yet again with Australia on 171 for 6 wickets. Triffet took the responsibility after his skipper’s dismissal to guide his team closer to the winning target. Tim Triffet after making a well compiled 50 was bowled by Charith Jayampathi and Australia lost their 8th wicket for 202 runs. The tail enders had to bat out 14 dot deliveries to score the winning runs.
A possible run out opportunity went a begging in the 48th over. If Sri Lanka took the opportunity, the game could have gone in favor of Sri Lanka.
Credit to the Sri Lankans they certainly made a match of it with a poor total. The fielding was excellent. Charith Jayampathi and Chathura Peiris bowled exceptionally well and the overall commitment of Sri Lanka on the field was a good example to all teams.
Sri Lanka will play for a third place ranking against the West Indies, while Australia will play Pakistan in the finals.
SRI LANKA 205 ALL OUT IN 48.2 OVERS.
AKSHU FERNANDO 52
KITHRUWAN VITHANAGE 40
CHATHURA PERIS 39
JOSH HAZLEWOOD 4 FOR 26
ALISTER MCDERMOTT 2 FOR 43
LOISE DORAN 2 FOR 39
AUSTRALIA 206 FOR 8 WICKETS IN 48.3 OVERS.
MITCHELL MARSH 97
TIM TRIFFETT 50
CHARITH JAYAMPATHI 3 FOR 34
CHATHURA PEIRIS 3 FOR 46
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