Champions Trophy 2017: Aaron Finch warms up with ton, Australia beat Sri Lanka
Aaron Finch and Travis Head performed brilliantly to guide Australia to a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their ICC Champions Trophy 2017 warm-up match.icc champions trophy 2017 Updated: May 27, 2017 12:40 IST
Australia rode a scintillating century by Aaron Finch and an unbeaten 85 by Travis Head to beat Sri Lanka by two wickets in their first ICC Champions Trophy 2017 warm-up match here at the Kennington Oval on Friday. Riding a patient 95 from captain Angelo Mathews and a whirlwind 70 from Asela Gunaratne, Sri Lanka reached 318/7 but Australia overhauled that total with two balls to spare. (SCORECARD)
Finch scored a 109-ball 137, laced with 11 boundaries and six sixes. Till Finch was at the crease, Australia looked poised to win comfortably. However, twin blows dealt by medium-fast pacer Nuwan Pradeep saw Finch and Glen Maxwell depart off consecutive deliveries in the 36th over and bring Sri Lanka back into the Champions Trophy preparatory game.
Head however kept his calm and calmly guided Australia to a morale-boosting win with Pat Cummins (4 n.o) at the other end even though the rest of the batting order didn’t make for a very good reading. Captain David Warner scored a painstaking 32-ball 19, Chris Lynn scored 19 off 27, Moises Henriques 10 off 12 and Matthew Wade made 13 off 15.
Batting proved to be difficult as Finch and Head ended up as the only two recognised Australia batsmen to have a strike above 100. As many as eight bowlers were tried out by Sri Lanka with Pradeep finishing with the top haul of 3/57.
Earlier, opener Niroshan Dickwella showed the way with a quickfire 41 off 30 innings but it took a coordinated effort from the middle and lower middle order to put up a daunting total. After getting rid of the openers in the first 10 overs, Australia quickly dismissed Kusal Mendis (5) and Dinesh Chandimal (17) but Sri Lanka restored some balance with a 60-run partnership between Chamara Kapugedera (30) and Mathews.
Once Gunaratne entered after the fall of Kapugedera, Sri Lanka started scoring more freely. Then on 35, Mathews continued to milk the singles, allowing Gunaratne to go on the assault quickly. Gunaratne ultimately scored 70 off 56 balls, with eight boundaries and two sixes.
Mathews too started to accelerate, even hitting Moises Henriques --- Australia’s most effective bowler with figures of 8-0-46-3 --- for a huge six but the Sri Lanka captain couldn’t complete his century, falling short by just five runs when Adam Zampa caught him off Henriques.
Gunaratne’s aggression however showed no sign of abating as he started to take apart all Australian bowlers towards the end. Hazlewood got the stick in the 49th over when Gunaratne and Seekkuge Prasanna (31) hit him for a boundary and three sixes to score 23 runs but Pat Cummins minimised the damage in the last over by conceding just eight runs.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 318/7 in 50 overs (N Dickwella 41, Angelo Mathews 95, A Gunaratne 70*, M Henriques 3/46). Australia 319/8 in 49.4 ovs (A Finch 137, T Head 85, N Pradeep 3/57). Australia won by two wkts.