32nd match, Sydney

Australia v Sri Lanka

At Sydney, March 8, 2015 (day/night). Australia won by 64 runs. Toss: Australia.
Both teams beefed up their spin department, and three slow bowlers - Doherty, Senanayake and Prasanna - made World Cup debuts. But the turn never materialised, and it was batsmen who made merry, with Maxwell blasting a maiden international hundred in 51 balls to propel Australia to 376 for nine. Sri Lanka's only specialist quick, Malinga, had shared the new ball with the off-breaks of Senanayake: Australia were 41 for two in the ninth over, but Smith and Clarke quickly began to manoeuvre the spinners. They made smooth half-centuries, swelling their stand to 134 before yielding the stage to the middleorder hitters. Maxwell plundered runs all round the ground, treating spin and pace with equal brutality. He sped to 50 off 26 deliveries and was on track to become the fastest World Cup centurion; he seemed to have equalled Kevin O'Brien's record, for Ireland against England four years earlier, when he ran a single off his 50th ball, only to tell umpire Ian Gould it was a leg-bye. He reached three figures off 51 instead, a one-day record for Australia, while Watson battered 67 off 41 on his return to the side as they added a rampaging 160 for the fifth wicket in 82 deliveries. In Sri Lanka's reply, Sangakkara became the first batsman to hit three World Cup hundreds on the trot, while Dilshan struck six fours in an over against Johnson. The required rate was in sight for much of the innings, and a Sri Lankan win still appeared possible with Chandimal at the crease. But he strained his hamstring just before completing a 22-ball fifty, and had to retire in the next over. Sri Lanka's hopes departed with him. ANDREW FERNANDO
Man of the Match: G. J. Maxwell.

© John Wisden & Co