Australia demolish Sri Lanka by 81 runs in Super Eights
Cameron White shouldered the responsibility with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 85, and then took a sensational catch to cut short dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan's return to form as Australia crushed Sri Lanka by 81 runs in their second Super Eights match in Bridgetown on Sunday. See specialcricket Updated: May 10, 2010 07:41 IST
Cameron White shouldered the responsibility with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 85, and then took a sensational catch to cut short dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan's return to form as Australia crushed Sri Lanka by 81 runs in their second Super Eights match in Bridgetown on Sunday.
White and Michael Hussey (39 not out) rescued Australia from a top-order collapse with a blistering 101 run stand for the sixth wicket to take their side to a challenging 168 for five.
Australian pace attack then scythed through Sri Lankan top order with Dirk Nannes (2-19) and Shaun Tait (1-10) breathing fire with the new ball.
Dilshan, who has been going through a rough patch, showed signs of resurgence hitting two fours and a ferocious six of Shane Watson. But his innings had a premature death when White took an unbelievable catch at backward point.
Dilshan's fierce cut off a wide Mitchell Johnson delivery was flying past White, who leapt in the air and pulled off a stunner with both hands; the airborne White bringing back memories of Jonty Rhodes.
It proved to be the decisive moment in the game and Sri Lanka were bowled out for 87 in 16.2 overs.
Sri Lanka's chase got off to a disastrous start as Australia stuck to their ploy of testing the subcontinent teams with short deliveries. India had encountered similar problems in the first match and it was Sri Lanka's turn to face the heat Sunday.
Despite Sri Lanka losing wickets at the top, it did not stop their batsmen from playing an attacking game which eventually proved costly. Sri Lanka lost three wickets for 26 runs which quickly became five for 49 after Dilshan's fall.
Johnson bowled a brilliant spell claiming three wickets and leg spinner Steven Smith was impressive in his two wicket haul.
Save the top order collapse, it was a ruthless performance by Australia and it will send a warning to the other teams. Their batting, too, had been top class in the tournament, but Sri Lanka made early inroads with some good bowling from Angelo Mathews (2-24) and spinner Suraj Randiv (3-20).
White and Michael Hussey took charge and brought Australia back in the match. White blasted six sixes and as fours in 49 balls while Hussey gave him support. Ajanatha Mendis came in for some pounding from them.
It rejuvenated the Aussies who were a changed lot while defending the target. Their quality bowling was supported by some awesome fielding, the players diving and sliding to stop every single run.
Their semi-final berth is almost assured with two huge victories, having beaten India in the first Super Eights match by 49 runs. West Indies and Sri Lanka have won one match while India have lost both their matches. Australia will take on West Indies and India face Sri Lanka Tuesday to determine the two semi-finalists from group F.
First Published: May 10, 2010 07:35 IST