Australia use sheer pace to beat Sri Lanka at Barbados
Michael Clarke the Australian captain did the right thing to bat first after winning the toss. Sangakkara also admitted that he too would have taken first lease of the Kensington Oval pitch, had he called correct.
Sri Lanka made three changes to the side that beat the West Indies. Randiv replaced the injured Muralitheran, while Chanaka Welegedera got the nod in place of Kulasekera; the tour selectors also brought back Dinesh Chandimal in place of Thisara Perera, meanwhile the Australian named an unchanged team that beat tournament favorites India.
Australia one of the strongest batting line ups in world cricket, were in for a rude shock. Shane Watson was bowled neck and crop in the very first over by Angelo Mathews, after which Brad Haddin‘s cameo of 15 runs came to a brisk end when Mathews had him caught by Jayasuriya at mid off for 15. Suraj Randiv then stuck a double blow when he had David Warner caught by Jayewardene at first slip for 9, and dished out a first ball duck to David Hussey, who was guilty of playing the wrong line, and the mighty Aussies were stunned to read the score card on the big screen which read Australia 30 for 4 wickets in the 6th over.
We all know what Cameron White is capable of. Cameron is rated as a player who can take the game away from the opposition with his exquisite stroke play and big hitting. Ajantha Mendis could not hold on to a difficult chance when the right hander was on 23 off a Suraj Randiv’s off spin that spun onto his pads and the miscued sweep was let off at mid wicket. The opportunity went a begging with Australia on 66. Randiv stuck in the same over, when he had skipper Michael Clarke beaten and bowled for 14, however the big fish in Cameron White was still at the wickets relishing the life he got.
The burly Australia made Sri Lanka pay for their folly. In a 49 ball knock he thumped six sixes and six fours and was severe against Ajantha Mendis and Chanaka Welegedera. Meanwhile Michael Hussey the silent operator got his act right and the pair put on an unbeaten partnership of 101 runs to take Australia to a winning score of 168.
Defending a target of 169 on a pitch that helped the quick’s was just what the Aussies hoped for. Their dreaded seam department led by Dirk Nannes, Mitchell Johnston Johnson and Shaun Tait were all over the Sri Lankan batsmen. The extra pace and bounce wrecked the top order batsmen. Steven Smith the lone wrist spinner capitalized as well and accounted for two scalps that of Kapugedera and Dinesh Chandimal, as Sri Lanka’s strong batting line up folded for 87 all out in 16.4 overs.
Australia deserved to win, even though, their top order failed, their middle order played catch up cricket, after they were tottering on 67 for six wickets at the end of the 11th over. They would have settled for 135 at this stage, but class acts like White and Hussey prove the pundits wrong with their extra talent, skill and temperament.
Sri Lanka will be disappointed, but they are a unit who can learn from their mistakes and bounced back and come at the opposition hard. They do have an opportunity tomorrow when they take on India. Sangakkara in a post match press conference clearly stated just that, hence Sri Lanka is still not out from booking a berth in the semi finals. They will need a big turnaround. They have done it before and they will aim to achieve their objective tomorrow against the Indians at St Lucia.