HomeNewsAustralia thrash Sri Lanka to revive World Cup campaign - Sport

Australia thrash Sri Lanka to revive World Cup campaign – Sport

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa played through pain to return figures of 4-47 and help Australia down Sri Lanka by five wickets for their first win at the 2023 Cricket World Cup on Monday.

Five-time winners Australia bundled out Sri Lanka for 209, a total they overhauled in 35.2 overs at a windswept Ekana Stadium.

Zampa was named man of the match in Australia’s first win in three matches, but the 31-year-old said it had been tough coming into the match.

“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great because I had a bit of a back spasm,” said Zampa.

“I was playing through it the last couple of days. Today I felt better, bowled better.” Former champions Sri Lanka slipped to a third loss in as many games.

The drama on the field may have been limited but that was not the case in the stands.

After rain interrupted Sri Lanka’s batting, strong winds brought scaffolding and hoardings crashing down onto the seats below.

With only around 3,000 people inside the 50,000-capacity ground, spectators managed to escape injury.

However, Australia’s reply was delayed when the umpires felt it unsafe to restart the match with high winds still a danger.

Once the game resumed, opener Mitchell Marsh smashed 52 and wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis made 58.

Marsh led the chase after Australia lost two early wickets of David Warner, for 11, and Steve Smith, for a duck, to slip to 24-2.

Marsh reached his first fifty in a World Cup off 39 balls but was soon run out after attempting a second run with Marnus Labuschagne, who hit 40.

Labuschagne and Inglis put on a key stand of 77 to deny the thin crowd of any late drama.

Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka broke the partnership to send back Labuschagne for his third wicket and spinner Dunith Wellalage got Inglis.

But Glenn Maxwell, who hit a 21-ball 31, took the team home with Marcus Stoinis, who made 20, for company.

‘Outside noise’

Pat Cummins was under attack for his captaincy in the opening two losses.

“Outside noise doesn’t bother us too much,” said Cummins.

“All parts of the game came together at the end. We’re underway in the tournament and hope we keep it up.”

Madushanka had raised early hopes of a fightback for Sri Lanka after he trapped Warner and Smith — both lbw — in the same over.

The left-handed Warner reviewed his decision but the tracker showed the ball would have kissed leg stump and the batsman returned to the stands fuming.

Earlier Sri Lanka elected to bat first and started with a 125-run opening stand between Pathum Nissanka (61) and Kusal Perera (78) before the opposition bowlers hit back to end the innings in 43.3 overs.

Perera reached his fifty with a boundary off Stoinis amid applause from the dressing room and a few Sri Lankan fans.

Nissanka soon claimed his second successive half-century as Sri Lanka charged ahead.

Cummins dismissed Nissanka through a good outfield catch by Warner and then bowled Perera.

Zampa sent back skipper Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama on consecutive balls between overs to be on hat-trick avoided by Dhananjaya de Silva.

Rain interrupted play for about 25 minutes and the break only gave Australia more power to return with wickets as left-arm quick Mitchell Starc bowled De Silva.

Sri Lanka kept losing wickets and Zampa grabbed two more including Chamika Karunaratne, who was only called up to replace injured captain Dasun Shanaka at the weekend.

But Mendis remained confident of his batting line-up and said they “have six more matches to perform better”.

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