Australia v Sri Lanka, World T20, Group F, Barbados May 9, 2010

Australia hand Sri Lanka 81-run thrashing

The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill

Australia 168 for 5 (White 85*, Randiv 3-20) beat Sri Lanka 87 (Johnson 3-15, Nannes 2-19)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia stormed to a resounding 81-run win that all but assured their semi-finals spot as Sri Lanka were steamrolled by extreme pace and sustained pressure, folding for 87. Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Johnson were the main destroyers of the Sri Lankan batting line-up, but the win was made possible by Cameron White's unstoppable 85 from 49 balls, which rescued his side from a perilous 67 for 5.

White was ably aided by Michael Hussey in an unbroken stand of 101 in less than ten overs, and when the Sri Lankan top order was bullied out by a formidable Australian pace attack in quick succession, the rest of the batsmen collapsed in a heap.

Australia had been in a similar situation against Bangladesh in the group stage, sinking to 65 for 6 before they were saved by a 74-run partnership between Hussey and Steven Smith. Today, they had White to thank, as he saw off the threatening Suraj Randiv, making the most of a missed chance on 23 to establish his dominance over the rest of the attack, as he passed 50 from 32 balls.

Shane Watson and David Warner have given Australia solid starts more often than not in this tournament, but today they were parted with the fifth ball of the innings, as Angelo Mathews snaked one in to rattle Watson's stumps via an inside edge. In an impressively-controlled opening spell, Mathews then deceived Brad Haddin, sent in ahead of Clarke with Australia one down, with a slower one that took the leading edge and looped up to give Sanath Jayasuriya an easy catch.

Australia were then under real pressure when Mahela Jayawardene held a blistering reflex take at slip when Warner nicked a flashing drive to Randiv's third ball of the match. In a dramatic over, Randiv then set Sri Lankan hearts racing when he beat David Hussey first ball with a flighted delivery that went the other way as the batsman drove on the walk, and Kumar Sangakkara whipped the bails off milliseconds later - not that it mattered, as the ball had also brushed the edge on its way through.

The hat-trick evaded him, but he topped off an outstanding spell when Clarke backed away to cut a turning ball and lost his off bail. Australia were 67 for 5 after 11 overs at that stage, and were in real danger of crumbling for an insubstantial total.

But Sri Lanka could not carry the intensity from their opening onslaught into the second half of the innings. After racing to his half-century, White led Australia's charge in the closing overs, lifting Welegedara down the ground with brutal hits from consecutive deliveries to move into the 70s.

With that, Hussey, who had nudged his way to 9 from 15 balls, took his cue, walking across his stumps to paddle a knee-high full toss from Lasith Malinga to fine leg. Hussey followed that up with a majestic lofted cover drive, before closing the over with an audacious sweep to a searing yorker. White took Australia past 150 with his fifth and sixth sixes in the penultimate over, and an incredible 91 runs came from the final seven overs.

Jayawardene has been Sri Lanka's linchpin at the top of the order in this tournament, and when he swivelled to pull Nannes handsomely over square leg it appeared that the stage had been set for another excellent knock. But Nannes dug the next one in even shorter, and the ball rose alarmingly to take the splice and balloon up to give Smith an easy catch at long leg.

It was pace and aggression that did for Sangakkara, too, as Shaun Tait sent down a brutish bumper that beat the attempted hook for pace, striking the glove on the way through to Haddin. The slide continued as Nannes fired one in at Jayasuriya's pads in his next over, beating an aimless swish to pin the batsman lbw to reduce Sri Lanka to 26 for 3 in the fifth over.

Watson was brought on in the last over of the Powerplay, and his medium-paced seamers proved to be a far more attractive prospect than the 90mph-plus barrage of Nannes and Tait. Dilshan responded with a caressed cover drive and a clean hit high over long on, and Mathews didn't miss out either, slamming Watson straight back over his head as 15 were taken from the over.

But they still had Johnson to contend with from the other end, and he made his intentions clear by banging his first two balls in before rolling his fingers over his third to induce an uppish cut from Dilshan. White at backward point went airborne to pull off a stunning catch inches from the turf, and when Mathews picked out Hussey on the cover boundary four balls later, Sri Lanka's short-lived counterpunch was nipped in the bud.

Sri Lanka were 67 for 5 after 10 overs - almost exactly the position in which Australia had found themselves in the first innings - but their middle order lacks White's power and Hussey's class, and from that point on the two sides went in opposite directions, Australia seizing back the game with a supremely confident fightback; Sri Lanka capitulating meekly in the face of sustained pressure. Such was the scale of the win, Australia are now virtually guaranteed a place in the semi-finals.

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPN Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinushgar on May 11, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    ayasuriya should retire nw.....his reflexes are really weak nw...... and mendis has to learn the art of bowling flights and he has to bring in more variation..finger spin will not work..a real overhaul of the team is required..y fernando is not in the squad..this kind of pitch would have really suited him....srilankan team need more youngsters,,,

  • Vinushgar on May 11, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    it should be mahela and dilshan opening cos i think dilshan has found his form now

  • Dilini on May 11, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    Sri Lanka needs an overall team performance today in order to win against India. I know in T20 they say only one or two players need to fire up. But NO today SL need to prove that they deserve to go through, so all 11 players out there need to concentrate and give 200% in order to get the job done.

  • Jay on May 10, 2010, 23:26 GMT

    I was very disappointed after the match against Australia. It clearly showed Sri Lanka's inability to keep pressure after early wickets. We bowled really well for 10 or so overs and once White started to cut loose they were bowling all over the place. I am completely agree with ARad, Sanga should have ring the alarm bells during the match, not after we lost by a huge margin. What this will do is put us some more pressure with the match against India. Anyway Good luck to our boys and hope they will learn from their mistakes.

  • Sam on May 10, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    Sangakkara has mentioned that the players shouldn't have gone for their shots after losing early wickets. Of course! Unfortunately, the captain's job is not giving post-match analysis but handling the situation DURING the match with assistance from the coaches. SL should have played more cautiously after the fall of five or six wickets since the chance of winning the match was nil. Considering that it may be possible for three teams to end up with 2 points in the group, the goal then is to last as long as possible and try to score runs through singles (like in the middle overs of ODIs) until the end of the innings since this would have minimized the hit on the run rate. I am disappointed with this strategical error and the blame lies squarely with the captain in this matter.

  • Rajinda on May 10, 2010, 20:40 GMT

    @Diyan82: You make excellent points & I am 200% with U! I have been posting here saying that Sana should have retired 2-3 years ago! Although he's served SL so much in the past he is also greedy & selfish. The problem is not just with the SL board, but the ministers & president of SL to who Sana runs crying, when he's dropped! Now that he is in the Parliament, expect more of such antics, even when he's out of the team! Therefore the board, coach/mangers & Sanga has no choice, cause he could come back as the Sports minister & get back @ whoever kicked him out! Such is SL politics & Cricket! Having said that, he's just 1 player, just like MJ who carried the team. What about the other 9? They were pathetic! Not to take anything away from the Aussies, who as usual were great & deserved to win, but it's obvious that the run difference we lost by, is what MJ has scored in the past matches. The rest as a whole can only score 85 runs? Sorry, but I don't think they deserve to win any T20WC!

  • Neo on May 10, 2010, 19:25 GMT

    India now have a chance to semis only if they beat sri lanka by a big margin like whatever SL score india need to chase it in 16 over or to win by 20+ runs. The Net RunRate counts on Total Runs Scored against Total Overs (included from every match). Plz c the points table of F group

  • Vijay on May 10, 2010, 18:54 GMT

    Chances for WI, India & SL:

    Per my undestanding WI absolutely needs to win against Aus to progress.

    India has to beat SL by more than 20 (and hope Aus beats WI even if only by a run)

    SL can afford to loose to India by less than 20 (and hope Aus beats WI)

  • Anthony on May 10, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    A disappointing performance by SL. However, all is not lost. Assuming WI lose to Australia, SL can qualify for the semis provided they do not lose to India by more than 19 runs in a full 40 over game. SL need to make some changes. Sanga should open with Mahela with Dilshan at first drop. We should replace Welagedara with Thushara and bring back Tissara Perera for the old warhorse Sanath. Panellist Mark Butcher said that it was time for the MP to attend Parliament. The SL legend made a great contribution to SL Cricket but it is time to go and make way for youngsters.One final point is that, apart from improving his fielding, Mendis should bowl with more variations and not be ruffled if he is hit out of the ground once or twice but continue his game plan. SL should reach the semi finals and even the final as the semis are played in St. Lucia. As for the Final I will withhold my usually optimistic comments as it will be played on the now not unfamiliar fast bouncy Barbados pitch.

  • Deep on May 10, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    this defeat clearly shows the hapless nature of the Sri Lankan team.

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