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Friday, February 22, 2008

More of the same as Australia wobbles but Sri Lanka crumble : CB ODI #9

Australia 7/184 [50 0vers] (Hussey 64 no, M Clarke 50) defeated Sri Lanka 4/77 [29.3 overs] by 24 runs (Duckworth - Lewis method) at the MCG.

Once again Sri Lanka held Australia to a modest total, which included several modest individual scores, but in reply couldn't loosen the grip of the Australian attack which bowled very well on a wicket which didn't make scoring easy.

Sri Lanka, who needed to win to stay in the running for a place in the finals, sent Australia in. They took early wickets, but missed a catch (Ricky Ponting at the start of his innings) and made many fumbles in the field. Even so, Australia's 4/54 in the 22nd over was hardly a strong platform for victory. Then came the Michael Clarke (50/69b) - Mike Hussey (64no/ 98b) partnership which added 90 in 20 overs which helped the total to 7/184 which didn't look enough, but like many of the totals in this series, looked as if it could be enough.

And so it proved. By the time Channel 9 came back after the news, Sri Lanka were 2/8. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene tried to revive the innings, as they'd done against India on Tuesday. On this occasion they failed, Jayawardene went at 42 and Sangakkara at 64, and their successors hung on for dear life until the rains came.

On paper the Sri Lankan innings looks brief, but it was compiled at the snail's pace of 2.6 runs an over, so the Duckworth - Lewis calculation was always going to give the game to Australia. If anything the D/L margin of 24 runs understated Australia's supremacy.

It now looks certain that Sri Lanka will finish third in the tri-series. They fight hard, have some excellent players, but not enough consistent performers especially in batting. Australia remain on top of the table but they too will have concerns about their batting, especially Ponting and Andrew Symonds. Fortunately for the team Michael Clarke and the bowlers have more than pulled their weight.


Cricinfo Bulletin
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