Australia vs Sri Lanka

Tanya Simon
June 15, 2019

That brought Smith to the crease and triggered the now-standard smattering of boos from the non-Australians in the crowd in reference to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa past year.

Aaron Finch's tournament-equaling high score of 153 led Australia to an emphatic 87-run victory over Sri Lanka at The Oval which saw them move to the top of the World Cup table.

Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand in their first World Cup match, then beat Afghanistan before successive games against Bangladesh and Pakistan were washed out.

Starc was the catalyst with a fiery spell of three wickets in six balls, Australia eventually dismissing Sri Lanka for 247 thanks in large part to his 4-55 from 10 overs.

Nobody's tip for the semi-finals and seemingly in some disarray on and off the field prior to the United Kingdom tournament, Sri Lanka's campaign began with a crushing 10-wicket defeat to the Black Caps before they barely sneaked a victory against minnows Afghanistan.

They face a struggle to reach the semi-finals with only four matches left, a spell that features encounters with title contenders England and India.

"We employ an independent pitch advisor to work with the host curators at all ICC events and the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 is no different", an event spokesperson said.

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Arguably the killer blow was struck when Karunaratne went for a cut shot off Richardson but only found Glenn Maxwell at point, the dismissal triggering a middle-order collapse. Sri Lanka made two changes, Pradeep Nuwan and Milinda Siriwardana come in the playing XI.

Mendis's mistimed drive off Starc reduced Sri Lanka to 222-7 and shattered their resistance.

After being put in to bat, the 32-year-old began in his usual free-flowing manner and although a continuing out-of-sorts David Warner was bowled by Dhananjaya de Silva for 26 to end an opening partnership on 80, Finch continued to bat with freedom.

The Aussies had earlier stamped their authority on the contest when Aaron Finch and Steve Smith combined for a 173-run third-wicket stand off just 124 balls.

The pair passed fifty for the opening wicket for the fourth time in five games at the World Cup.

Sri Lanka had no answer to his brutal assault and by the time he departed, caught by Karunaratne off Udana, he had put Australia in a commanding position.

Maxwell's quick-fire 46 from 25 balls rubbed salt into Sri Lanka's wounds.

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