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Australia v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy 2013, The Oval

June 17, 2013

When Clarke gave Bailey the Moyes glare

Nitin Sundar

The group was wide open going into the final league game. Sri Lanka needed a win, and New Zealand needed Australia to win by a small margin to qualify.

Australia's best chance was to try and skittle Sri Lanka for a low score, and then chase it down quickly. In the circumstances, Mitchell Starc's exclusion in favour of Xavier Doherty surprised a few.

Mitchell Johnson was to have an eventful day. He was in action early and made an immediate impact.

Johnson began in typical fashion - two loose deliveries that went for eight runs, and then a straightforward lbw against Kusal Perera.

There was early movement on offer, and soon Kumar Sangakkara was on his way back too.

Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan batted cautiously to steady Sri Lanka's innings. Dilshan eventually fell to a sharp catch at slip by Shane Watson. His tumble to the right reminded some of a legendary catch from World Cup 2007.

Despite making early inroads into the Sri Lankan middle order, Australia didn't have the bowling to spark a collapse.

Their playing XI may have looked ordinary, but Australia had plenty of class in the dressing room.

Once again Mahela Jayawardene began to impose himself on proceedings. He checked in with a series of beautiful strokes.

The pressure got to Johnson, whose second spell included a couple of beamers.

He finished with figures of 3 for 42 - not bad for someone who gets so much flak.

Jayawardene's unbeaten 84 lifted Sri Lanka to 253. Australia needed to win in 29.1 overs to qualify. England too were interested in the result, since their group standing, and subsequently their semi-final fixture was subject to change.

Australia got off to a terrible start, when Shane Watson fell before he could do any damage.

But is he pulling his punches? Phil Hughes too departed after a scratchy start, and Australia fell behind very quickly.

Worse was to follow. George Bailey ran himself out in atrocious fashion, ambling without intent for what would have been a regulation single, only to be caught short by a direct hit. Michael Clarke looked on from the dressing room.

Thanks to Glenn Maxwell's intent, Australia went along at a good run-rate, but wickets kept falling by the wayside.

At 168 for 8 after 25 overs, the game was only going one way.

Australia were well short of the target at the 29.1 over mark, which meant that their title defence ended 14 years after their remarkable resurgence in the greatest ODI of alltime.

But there was more drama in store. No. 10 Clint McKay began resisting in the company of Adam Voges to keep Australia in the hunt for a consolation win.

Voges departed at 192 for 9, but Xavier Doherty didn't show the nerves of a No. 11. Along with McKay, he began to chip away at the target with nudges and pushes. An Australia win would have put New Zealand into the semis at Sri Lanka's cost.

After the T20 style finish to the previous game, this was classic last-wicket Test match defiance.

Dilshan, however, killed New Zealand's hopes with an acrobatic one-handed return catch to dismiss McKay. That meant Sri Lanka would face familiar opponents in the semi-final.

Nitin Sundar is social media manager at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Nitin Sundar

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Posted by   on (June 18, 2013, 5:19 GMT)

Not as good as previous one. Perhaps the sordid affairs of Aussies doesn't generate that much humour. Keep 'em coming nitin..

Posted by ghtvnath on (June 18, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

love this tweets feed daily..... quite nice quotes from around the world laid according to match timeline... keep them coming...

Posted by 9ST9 on (June 18, 2013, 4:30 GMT)

Oh no not another India vs SL tie.

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