Quick wickets put Oz on back foot

Australia’s run-chase was in bad shape as they were struggling at 80/5 after Sri Lanka posted a respectable 253/8 in their final Group A clash at the Oval. Angelo Mathews gave Australia fifth blow by bowling out Mitchell Marsh (4) on the final delivery of the 13th over.

Australian skipper George Bailey was the fourth man to fall. The captain fell victim to a brilliant direct throw by Nuwan Kulasekara. Lasith Malinga bowled out danger man Glenn Maxwell to inflict third blow on Australia after they crossed 50-mark.

Earlier, pacer Kulasekara’s twin blow rattled Australia after Sri Lanka posted 253/8. Kulasekara bowled out Shane Watson (5) in the second over and then struck again in the sixth over to get Philip Hughes (13) caught behind. 

Veteran Mahela Jayawardene brought all his experience into play as he struck an unbeaten 84 to guide Sri Lanka to a respectable total.Jaywardene made his runs off 81 balls and was involved in an useful partnership of 65 for the sixth wicket with Dinesh Chandimal, who contributed 31 off 32 balls.

Australia will need to chase down the target in 29.1 overs to ensure a place in the semifinals from group A alongside England. The Lankans held the edge at the break, but in the event of Australia winning the game after 29.1 overs, New Zealand will be through.Sent into bat, Sri Lanka were off to a poor start losing two wickets with just 20 runs on the board.

The islanders lost Kusal Perera early, seamer Mitchell Johnson having the left-handed batsman trapped in front of the wicket.

Clint McKay took the big wicket of Kumar Sangakkara when he had the experienced Sri Lankan batsman, trying to play his trademark shot through the cover region, caught by Glen Maxwell.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne added 72 runs for the third wicket to steady the ship, before left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty sent back the opener, caught at slip by a diving Shane Watson for a 58-ball 34. Diving to his right, Watson picked the ball low and one-handed.

After labouring his way to a patient 57 off 86 balls, Thirimanne was done in by Johnson as he pulled a short and quick delivery outside off to Watson at midwicket. He hit four boundaries during his knock. By the Thirimanne got out, Sri Lanka had made 128 for four, and it was time for Jayawardene to take charge of the situation.

The senior pro hit 11 fours, including a few cheeky ones, and remained there till the end to put pressure on the Aussies. 

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