ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
Live Score Updates
Sri Lanka 141/1 (22.2 Ovs)
Karunaratne 79 (78)
Finch led the way for Australia with 153 © Getty
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Starc is the man!!
And it is Starc who has given Australia the vital, vital breakthrough. The good old full and straight delivery at pace did the track for the experienced pacer. Kusal looked for a slog across the line but could only connect with thin air. Not much of a celebration from the Aussie camp.
Review and drama
More drama! Australia took a review against Kusal for a caught behind appeal but there was no edge. A few overs later Maxwell’s loud appeal for an lbw against Dimuth was turned down. Guess what? It would have crashed into the leg stump!! Under pressure, Australia got desperate and wasted their review.
Sanath at Oval??
Is Sanath batting at the crease for the island nation?? Are we back in 1990s with the help of a time machine? It seems so as Kusal Perera smacked Behrendorff over covers for a believe-it-or-not six!! One of the shots of the World Cup so far. Australia also seem to be cracking under pressure as it was followed up by overthrows. 18 runs from the over off Behrendorff and Sri Lanka are going at almost nine runs per over. Australia seem to be missing a spinner…
Karunaratne also played his part as he got to his half-century off just 43 balls. This stand would have instilled belief in the Sri Lankan camp.
Perera on a mission
It isn’t swinging with clouds around. It isn’t seaming. Mostly even bounce and Kusal Perera seems to be on a mission. He has pulled and cut the duo of Cummins and Starc into the fence. And the ball rocketed away. Excellent conditions for batting and the chase is on.
Udana’s box of tricks
Udana is in the middle of a wonderful spell. The left-armer has varied his pace, employed the slow dipping yorker and changed the angle by bowling from round the wicket to pick up the wickets. He has even effected a couple of run outs via direct hits off his own bowling.
Eventually, Australia ended up with 334 with Maxwell accumulating a breezy 46. However, at one point of time, the men from Down Under looked set to crack the 350-mark.
And Finch falls…
Finally, Udana bowled the slower one and outfoxed Finch. The aggressive batter could only mistime the slog to the fielder stationed at covers. End of a spectacular innings, with full of crunching strokes. His highest individual score too. He walks back to the pavilion to a standing ovation. Sri Lanka would breathe a sigh of relief as the opener looked set to cross the 200-run mark.
Malinga followed it up by cleaning up Smith with one of his trademark yorkers from round the wicket. We have seen him deliver the knockout punch with the yorker time and again, time and again, time and again… pinpoint perfection.
200 on the cards for Finch??
Australia motoring along. On the other hand, stuff from Sri Lanka. The bowlers just haven’t tried to vary the pace. Pradeep tried yorkers but Smith was waiting for it as he moved around in the crease and cleverly clipped him for a couple of fours. Pradeep then banged it short and was duly biffed by Finch. The seamer started well but struggling in the slog overs.
Finch then cracked his second 150 of the year in ODIs by tonking Malinga through midwicket. 200 on the cards????
Meanwhile, Smith composed a typical fifty – lots of flicks, nudges from outside off and the occasional cut and ramp over the ‘keeper’s head. Sri Lanka are in desperate need of a breakthrough.
Finch leading the way
Dhananjaya had gone through a spell of seven overs for just 20 runs and also picked up two wickets. Something had to give and it was Finch who put the accelerator shoes on by lofting the part-timer for two sixes. Dimuth perhaps used the part-timer for one over too many.
He soon reached his 13th ODI hundred with a trademark loft off Siriwardena over long on and into the downtown territories.
The stand between Smith and Finch has been a good one – 95 off just 73 balls. Australia were stalling a bit before the duo took charge.
Khawaja looked hesitant at the crease with Pradeep hitting the right lengths and he also extracted some bounce. The southpaw tried to lift his strike rate but could only slog sweep de Silva to midwicket. Two down with de Silva taking both the wickets.
Finally the breakthrough…
Finally a breakthrough for Sri Lanka. Dhananjaya employed the tried and tested slider, Warner attempted to cut and paid the price by losing his stumps. Sri Lanka desperately needed a wicket and they have got one. It wasn’t one of Warner’s better knocks – 26 off 48.
Meanwhile, Finch completed a quickfire fifty. He would look to convert it into a big one.
Big score on offer?
The little bit of moisture seems to have dried out and it has turned into a typical Oval track with even bounce. The Lankan pacers are mostly hitting a short of a length and not much of variations on display. We could be in a for a big score?
Udana and injury concerns
Oh, Udana is down at the midwicket boundary. He seems to have done some damage to his left shoulder after he rammed into the hoardings while trying to save a boundary. He is going off the field. Hopefully, he would be fine.
After a few minutes, he is back on the field and that is good news for the island nation.
Finch in fine fettle
Finch has looked in fine touch so far, with his front foot going alongside the line of the ball and the back foot loading up quite quickly. He seems to have worked hard on his weakness of playing across.
Australia (Playing XI): Aaron Finch(c), David Warner, Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey(w), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff
Sri Lanka (Playing XI): Dimuth Karunaratne(c), Kusal Perera(w), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep
Aaron Finch, Australia captain: Still haven’t managed to win a toss. I would have bowled first. A bit of cloud cover. Will swing around initially and we will have to bat well to see that phase through. We haven’t done too well particularly with the bat. We have done well in patches in the tournament, but it hasn’t come together for us. We need to be disciplined against the new ball. Hopefully no more spin from me today. NCN is stiff and sore from the last game, and Behrendorff will be replacing him.
Karunaratne, SL captain: We’ll bowl first. It has been rainy, so the moisture will help seamers initially so we need to take advantage. Pradeep is fit to play, he’s been playing really well and has recovered. Siriwardene will play instead of Lakmal. We have trained harder since it has been frustrating with all our games getting rained out. Training hard. That’s all we can do.
Sri Lanka have won a crucial toss and elected to bowl and that could lift the spirits in the camp. I expect the track to do a bit up front. The deck looks quite hard and you expect the trademark Oval bounce. Good news for the island nation is Pradeep is back.
Ground conditions report: “Fresh pitch. Looks fantastic as always. Vauxhall end – very short off-side boundaries. From the Pavilion end, the off-side is about 10m longer, and a 72m straight boundary. An outstanding batting pitch. A green tinge, so some extra bounce and pace, but it’ll flatten out. Looks like another 300+ batting wicket to me.” – Michael Slater & Baz McCullum.
From the time when de Silva and Dias helped Sri Lanka snatch a thrilling win at the MCG in 1985, Australia and Sri Lanka have developed an intriguing rivalry in limited overs.
Hard to the forget the 1996 World Cup final in Lahore when de Silva put on a masterclass to script the island nation’s World Cup triumph with Australia struggling to adjust to the dewy conditions. Throw in a bit of bad blood that tainted Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia just before the 1996 World Cup and also the 2007 World Cup final between the two sides.
In short, the history books would point to some nail-biting games and controversy when the two teams have locked horns in ODIs. So can the current Sri Lankan side take some inspiration from the past encounters and upset the apple-cart in their crucial World Cup tie against the men from Down Under at The Oval?
It hasn’t been a good campaign for the island nation so far. They came into the tournament on the back of poor form and were thrashed by New Zealand. It was followed by a couple of rained off games and also a narrow win versus Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Australia haven’t exactly been at their best but managed to find a way to win against both West Indies and Pakistan. However, they slipped to a loss against one of the tournament favourites, India. Mitchell Starc has been among the wickets while Warner and Finch cracked a fine opening stand versus Pakistan.
Australian pacers would be licking their lips as it is set to be a fresh pitch at The Oval. The opposition camp have already made their views clear about the kind of pitches they have played in the tournament so far.
Toss and teams in a while…