By Srian Obeyesekere
Another fantastic 125 opening start off 130 balls by Kusal Janith Perera 78 (82b, 12×4) and Pathum Nissanka 61 (76b, 8×4) was blown off by one of the world cup collapses since 2011 shot out for 209 and Sri Lanka’s worst collapse since their inaugural World Cup game as they lost 10 wickets for 84 runs against the spin of Adam Zampa who ran through the top order with figures of 4 for 47 as Australia broke free from two defeats to win with ease by 5 wickets at Lucknow’s Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium yesterday. Seven of the batsmen including five recognised batsmen failing to reach double figures reflected the pathetic collapse.
It was another tragic defeat for a side that had at one stage been going hammer and tong at 137 for 1 with Kusal Janith Perera in thumping form with skipper Kusal Mendis joining him after Pathum Nissanka had departed to an outstanding catch by David Warner in the deep. Warner it was who produced a typically second fantastic catch to send out Mendis too in the deep that sparked the Lankan collapse with Australian skipper Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc completing the rout with two wickets apiece.
Mendis went for 9, Sadeera Samarawickrama an LBW victim to Zampa for 8, Charith Asalanka 25 off 39 claimed by Glenn Maxwell, Dhananjaya de Silva bowled by Mitchell Starc for 7, Dunith Wellalage run out for 2 and Chamika Karunaratne LBW to Zampa for 2 off 11.
Lanka’s speedster Dilshan Madushanka did give his side hope grabbing the prize wickets of Warner 11 and Steve Smith for a duck, both leg before wicket in a double wicket maiden as his f first 12 deliveries went for zero runs and two wickets, including a double-wicket maiden. He did well to finish with tidy figures of 3 for 38 in that loss.
But that setback apart, the Aussie batsmen found no terrors in the Lankan attack as Mitchell Marsh in a run a ball 52 (9×4) tore in lofting Lahiru Kumara who conceded 15 runs in his first over and went on to hammer Maheesh Theekshana, into the attack by the third over for two boundaries, back over mid-off the third over mid-on and followed suit in Kumara’s next over. In that assault Dunith Wellalage came in for the worst hammering by Marsh – three boundaries in his opening salvo. Marsh’s innings was ended by a brilliant throw by Chamika Karunaratne throw from the deep going for a second run. But Josh Inglis a run a ball 58 (5×4, 1×6) and Marcus Labuschagne 40 off 60 (2×4) made no mistake about the chase posting 77 off 86 with Glenn Maxwell on 31 off 21 (4×4, 2×6) and Marcus Stoinis 20 off 10 (2×4, 1×6) applying the finish in a flurry.
Sri Lanka 209 (43.3 Overs)
(Kusal Janith Perera 78, Pathum Nissanka 61, Charith Asalanka 25,
Australia 215/5 (35.2 Overs)
(Mitchell Marsh 52, Marcus Labuschagne 40, Josh Inglis 58, Glenn Maxwell n.o. 31, Marcus Stoinis n.o. 20, Dilshan Madushanka 3/38, Dunith Wellalage 1/53)