World Cup 2023: Australia wins its first World Cup match by five wickets over Sri Lanka

World Cup 2023: Australia wins its first World Cup match by five wickets over Sri Lanka
With a stunning five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka, Australia has given their sputtering ICC Men's Cricket World Cup campaign new life. The five-time World Cup champions, who were winless through their first two games, made significant strides forward as they successfully chased down Sri Lanka's modest total of 209 with more than 14 overs to spare. When Sri Lanka's openers Kusal Perera (78) and Pathum Nissanka (61) put together 125 for the first wicket, however, some brilliant bowling from Adam Zampa (4/25), Mitchell Starc (2/43) and Pat Cummins (2/32) along with some excellent fielding prevented this from happening. Due to half-centuries from Josh Inglis (58) and Mitchell Marsh (52), as well as some mighty late blows from Glenn Maxwell (31*), Australia was able to secure their first victory of the tournament despite pacer Dilshan Madushanka's (3/38) early removal of veteran pair David Warner and Steve Smith from the chase. Australia moves up to eighth place in the World Cup standings thanks to the victory, while Sri Lanka remains winless and faces the daunting task of remaining in the running for a spot in the semi-final berth.
A chaotic start ensued for Australia in Lucknow. While Mitchell Marsh and David Warner took off in a brisk fashion, Dilshan Madushanka struck twice in the third over to give Sri Lanka hope. He had both David Warner (11) and Steve Smith trapped lbw. However, Mitchell Marsh continued attacking from his end. He hit nine boundaries in the first 12 overs. He brought up his fifty off merely 39 balls and ensured that Australia batted at a healthy strike rate.  Sri Lanka struck back in the 15th over when they had Marsh run out for 52. 
Josh Inglis, who began with back-to-back fours, and Marnus Labuschagne held the fort for Australia. Their 77-run stand helped stabilize the Australia chase. After Labuschagne's dismissal for 40 in the 29th over, Inglis was joined by Maxwell. The innings picked up pace at the back of Maxwell's belligerence, and Australia closed in on a big win.  Sri Lanka lost three crucial wickets after the mid-innings mark. Cummins got one to jag back in the 27th over and crashed into Kusal Perera's stumps. In the very next over, Kusal Mendis (9) fell while trying to take on Zampa on the leg side. David Warner came running in once more and held on to a brilliant take. 
The Sri Lanka openers let out a number of quality drives and cuts over the next few overs to get the innings going. Nissanka and Kusal Perera carried their attacking game into the next Powerplay, taking 33 runs between overs 11-15. They opened their arms against the leg-spinner, Zampa, and took 16 off his first two overs. Perera brought up his half-century in the 19th over, while Nissanka followed with one of his own in the 20th over. In the 21st over, Nissanka (61) pulled a Pat Cummins delivery in the deep and ended up placing it towards the mid-wicket region. David Warner covered a substantial amount of ground to his left before holding on to an exceptional catch. 
However, Perera kept Sri Lanka's attack up and hit four fours in the next three overs.  Chamika Karunaratne and Lahiru Kumara came into Sri Lanka's XI in place of Dasun Shanaka and Matheesha Pathirana, while Australia went with the same side that played against South Africa.  Australia enjoys a head-to-head advantage over Sri Lanka, having won 63 games to 35 losses, but the Lions have proven to be a handy customer in Asia. Here the sides are evenly matched in the results column, with 18 successes for each of them.
Source: IANS