London, June 15 (IANS) Australia beat Sri Lanka by 87 runs in their 2019 ICC World Cup group stage clash at the Oval on Saturday. The victory took Australia to the top of the table with eight points, while Sri Lanka remain at fifth place with four.
Chasing a target of 335, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 247, despite a 115-run opening stand between Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera.
Australia's charge to 334/7 was largely powered by captain Aaron Finch's 153 off 132 balls, which was part of a 173-run stand between him and Steve Smith (73 off 59) for the third wicket. Finch hit 15 fours and five sixes and also shared an 80-run opening stand with David Warner (26 off 48).
Finch was dismissed by Isuru Udana in the 43rd over after which Sri Lanka managed to get a grip on the game with frequent wickets. Smith was dismissed in the next over and by the time the Australian innings came to an end, they had lost seven wickets with Glenn Maxwell (46 off 25) and Mitchell Starc (5 off 4) at the crease.
Sri Lanka made a strong start to the chase with captain Karunaratne and Kusal pegging back the Australian pacers and Maxwell. Starc, however, got the breakthrough by taking Kusal's middle stump while the latter was on 52 off 36 balls. Sri Lanka never managed to get a significant partnership after that.
Lahiru Thirimanne, who replaced Kusal, became Jason Behrendorff's first World Cup wicket and Karunaratne was dismissed on 97 off 109 by Kane Richardson.
While the top three wickets contributed 186 runs to the Sri Lankan total, the rest only managed 61. Starc ended the innings with figures of 4/55 while Richardson took three wickets. Pat Cummins was the man who took the final Sri Lankan wicket and ended the match with two to his name.
Brief scores: Australia 334/7, Aaron Finch 153 (132), Steve Smith 73 (59), Dananjaya De Silva 2/40. Sri Lanka 247, Dimuth Karunaratne 97 (108), Kusal Perera 52 (36), Mitchell Starc 4/55