Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st ODI, Pallekele

Johnson bowls Australia to 1-0 lead

The Report by Brydon Coverdale

August 10, 2011

Comments: 102 | Text size: A | A

Australia 192 for 3 (Watson 69, Clarke 53*, Ponting 53) beat Sri Lanka 191 (Randiv 41, Johnson 6-31) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell Johnson celebrates Kumar Sangakkara's wicket, Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st ODI, Pallekele, August 10, 2011
Mitchell Johnson was Man of the Match for his 6 for 31 © AFP

Mitchell Johnson produced the fourth-best figures in Australia's one-day history to set his team on the path to a seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Pallekele. After losing the Twenty20s, Australia found a new spark with the arrival of the 50-over captain Michael Clarke, who attacked in the field and then helped steer the side home with Ricky Ponting after Shane Watson set up the chase.

Smart stats

  • Sri Lanka's seven-wicket defeat is only their sixth in 34 home ODIs when they've won the toss and chosen to bat since 2000.
  • Mitchell Johnson's 6 for 31 are his best figures in ODIs, and the fourth-best by an Australian.
  • In 31 ODIs in Asia, Johnson has taken 60 wickets at an average of 20.41. In ODIs outside Asia, he has 98 wickets in 69 matches at 28.
  • Australia won with 71 balls to spare, which is their second-best in Sri Lanka, and their fifth-best in any ODI against Sri Lanka.
  • In 16 ODIs in 2011, Shane Watson has scored 959 runs at 68.50 and a strike rate of 115.26, with two hundreds and seven fifties.
  • The 101-run partnership between Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke is only Australia's third century stand for the third wicket in Sri Lanka.

The first ten overs of the match seemed like an extension of the T20s, as Sri Lanka's openers gave their side a strong start with a 54-run stand. After the first wicket fell, though, the rest of the day belonged to Australia. Most surprisingly, given all the talk in the build-up to the game, it was aggressive pace bowling that set the tone for the match.

Such was the expectation that spin would be the dominant force that Johnson was the sixth bowler Clarke turned to after losing the toss. He struck with his third delivery, and ran through the middle order to finish with 6 for 31, his best limited-overs figures and an effort surpassed only by Glenn McGrath, Andy Bichel and Gary Gilmour for Australia.

Sri Lanka's 191 was a sub-par total on a good pitch but against the spin of Ajantha Mendis, who bamboozled the Australians in the second T20, a successful chase was far from a done deal. And while none of the batsmen were completely comfortable against Mendis, they generally found a way to survive, and handled him far better than they had two days ago.

For Watson, the method was simply to use his might. He struck six sixes in a brutal innings, twice clearing the boundary against Mendis and twice off Suraj Randiv, and he was at his best against the slow men when he got his front foot to the pitch of the ball. He had one life on 46 when, next ball after a six over long-off, he cut Mendis straight to point, where a listless Suranga Lakmal dropped a sitter.

Perhaps Lakmal was still thinking about the previous over, in which he had leaked 12 runs against Watson, who was merciless with his pulls when the seamers dropped short. Watson eventually departed for 69 of the 81 Australia had at the time, via a top-edged sweep off Randiv. Despite his 51-ball blitz, Watson didn't always pick the spinners, although he was a picture of composure compared to his opening partner, Brad Haddin, who managed 12 off 18 balls.

Haddin found Mendis harder to read than a Sinhalese newspaper. He played inside balls that turned away, and outside offbreaks, poking his bat forward with little more than hope. It was only a matter of time before Mendis had his man, and the wicket came when Haddin didn't pick a delivery that turned in through the gate and bowled him. It could be a tough tour for Haddin unless he finds a way to handle Mendis.

Fortunately for Haddin, the bowlers had ensured a gettable target. And the addition of Clarke and Ponting gave the middle order some starch. They combined for a 101-run partnership, both reaching half-centuries and showing that their experience could be a key factor in the series, albeit that their efforts in this match came without a great deal of pressure.

Ponting fell just before the victory was sealed, bowled for 53 as he tried to sweep Randiv, but Clarke stayed until the end. It was a calm innings from Clarke, who finished unbeaten on 53, having marshalled his men well in the field.

Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, who was returning after serving his three-month suspension for failing a drug test, put together a good opening partnership, but that ended when Tharanga (34) was bowled trying to cut Xavier Doherty. A big gap had been left on the off side, tempting Tharanga to play against the spin, and the plan succeeded.

The part-time spinner, David Hussey, struck soon after when Dilshan, on 29, threw his wicket away by lofting to mid-off. That was the first wicket in a costly spell for Sri Lanka, in which they lost three wickets for 13 runs. Mahela Jayawardene flashed at a wide one from Johnson and was caught low to the ground by Haddin, before Johnson deceived Sangakkara (16) with a fullish slower ball that was driven to short cover.

And when Clarke hurled his left hand out to snare Dinesh Chandimal for 12 off the bowling of Doug Bollinger, Sri Lanka were 101 for 5. A quick yorker from Johnson rattled the stumps of Jeevan Mendis for 2, before Angelo Mathews had a brain-freeze and was caught at mid-off, trying to send Johnson over the boundary.

Randiv and Nuwan Kulasekara rebuilt with a 60-run partnership for the eighth wicket, but Randiv became Johnson's fifth wicket when he holed out to long-off. Later in the same over - the 39th of the innings - Johnson came around the wicket and knocked back the off stump of Ajantha Mendis to secure his first six-wicket haul in an ODI.

The fightback quickly fizzled out when Kulasekara (34) pulled to deep midwicket, where a low catch from Michael Hussey gave Brett Lee his 350th one-day international wicket. It was just another happy moment for the Australians on their best day of the tour, and on one of the finest days of Johnson's international career.

Innings Dot balls 4s 6s PP1 PP2 PP3 Last 10 overs NB/Wides
Sri Lanka 157 24 3 58/1 23/2 (10.1-15) 14/1 (39.41.1) 0/1 (41.1) 0/2
Australia 117 12 6 60/1 26/0 (12.1-17) - - 0/2

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (August 13, 2011, 23:36 GMT)

I think this test series between Sri Lanka and Australia is going to be very interseting, so much so in light of England winning 3 consecutive tests against the Indians. It is a series that will truly determine whether or not Australia can be quickly ranked in the top 3 within in the near future. Both these sides are going through a transitional period, but I think the Aussies could probably win a test or two if Sri Lanka doesn't bring their A game.

Posted by AKS286 on (August 13, 2011, 5:24 GMT)

c. silva , kapugedara will be my fav. for playing instead of chandimal. welegedara instead of lakmal.dohetry & o'keefe pack them and send back to australia bring back siddle & beer. voges is better than ferguson & cosgrove specially in sub continent. and NO comments on THE FUTURE LEGEND, THE FUTURE CAPTAIN, SIR STEVEN SMITH.

Posted by asithaSL on (August 12, 2011, 18:37 GMT)

Ya.., Gambir is d real hero of Indian team, they r world champs thnx to him on gr8 final.... hey, icc t20 batsman n bowler ranking.....??? anyone know...??

Posted by WTEH on (August 12, 2011, 16:25 GMT)

Time to get Malinga. No mercy for Aussies, need to tighten the grip Dilshan.

Posted by Happy_AusBang on (August 12, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

I think it is good for cricket that India gets thrashed by England. I can't believe I am saying this having barracked for India against Australia not that long ago. But the arrogance coming from there is simply astounding. Hopefully this thrashing will sober them up. India needs to play more regularly against its neighbouring teams. It is a disgrace that they will not be playing Bangladesh for four years.

Posted by Travis-Hookes on (August 12, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

MeraBharatMahaan - Maybe you could update us on Sachin's success as a captain?

Posted by AlanHarrison on (August 12, 2011, 10:28 GMT)

Agree with Blazedragon: judging by the ineptitiude of some of the cricket at Edgbaston yesterday, English fans' bombast notwithstanding, Zimbabwe vs. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka vs. Australia, and even some domestic cricket probably comprises a better spectacle at the moment.

Posted by Gamaraala on (August 12, 2011, 8:41 GMT)

First of all, congratulations to the Australian team. They did really well and I guess the Sri Lankan team was a little over confident after T20s. Aussies provoked our best players to play poor shots. They deserved that win. I should have said this before, without being carried away by some ridiculous comments. @Sakthiivel: So, what is the point you tried to make in your first comment saying "SL cant win Aussies in ODI"?

Posted by Dhakshika on (August 12, 2011, 8:00 GMT)

Sachin is never a match winner.Ponting is so much greater than him as a team winner.sachin is only a personal all these consider real game winner now india is gautham gambhir than tendulkar.his is below than dhoni, dravid.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (August 12, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

PLEASE! No more about Sachin! I can't take it anymore! This game didn't even involve India! What's wrong with you people? That's it, I'm going to add Adam Gilchrist to everyone of my posts! I'm going to go onto the England v India page and just bang on and on about Adam Gilchrist, making sure there is no relevance to him whatsoever.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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