Five-time World Cup winners Australia finally secured their first victory of the tournament with a comfortable five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in a thrilling match held in Lucknow on Monday, October 16. The Australian team, known for their cricketing prowess, had a point to prove, and they did so in style. Chasing a below-par target of 210 set by Sri Lanka, Australia displayed a commanding performance that underlined their potential in the competition.
Sri Lanka’s regrettable batting collapse earlier in the day was a stark contrast to the promising start they had. At one point, they were cruising at 125/0, with openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera laying a solid foundation for the team. The two batsmen displayed exceptional skill and determination, both reaching their respective fifties, and it appeared that Sri Lanka was well on their way to posting a formidable total. This remarkable partnership had a striking similarity to Australia’s previous game at the same venue against South Africa, where they had a successful opening stand.
Adam Zampa‘s performance had faced a slump since the South Africa series, where he had been a bit off-color and seemed to lack the sharpness he was known for. This trend continued in the game today, especially during his initial spells when Kusal Perera put him under considerable pressure with his aggressive approach. Zampa, a spinner known for his variations and ability to create breakthroughs, appeared to be struggling to find his rhythm.
Australia’s chase, though ultimately successful, faced some early hiccups as they lost two key wickets in the same over, finding themselves at 24/2 after just four overs. This turn of events came as a setback for the Australian team, given that they had initially started their innings with a bang, smashing 15 runs off the first over.
The first blow came when David Warner was declared out, albeit in a very marginal LBW (Leg Before Wicket) decision, with Dilshan Madushanka delivering a delivery that led to a contentious call. Warner was unfortunate to find himself on the wrong side of that decision. Following Warner’s dismissal, Madushanka showcased his skill once more by delivering a sharp inswinger, which resulted in the dismissal of Steve Smith, who was trapped in front of the stumps.
These quick wickets were a sharp contrast to the explosive start of Australia’s innings. Mitchell Marsh set the tone from the very first ball, unleashing a powerful straight-smash, which was an emphatic statement of intent. The first over concluded with a sensational pick-up shot for a six over fine leg by David Warner, demonstrating his prowess and ability to find the boundaries with ease.