Aaron Finch hundred takes Australia to the top
London – Aaron Finch’s stylish hundred and his partnership of 173 with Steve Smith set up Australia’s fourth win of the tournament to take them to the top of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 points table.
Chasing Australia’s 334/7, Sri Lanka let the advantage of a rollicking 115-run opening stand slip, allowing Australia to come back strongly as the ever-reliable Mitchell Starc finished with 4/55 in an 87-run win at The Oval on Saturday, 15 June.
After choosing to bowl, while Sri Lanka couldn’t make inroads, they didn’t quite allow Australia to run away with it – the overs between 10 and 20 being especially subdued. David Warner struggled and Usman Khawaja fell trying to sweep, both of them undone by Dhananjaya de Silva’s off-spin.
Finch, meanwhile, slowly built up rhythm and in the company of Smith, pulled and cut with flair. He got to his century with a emphatic six over extra cover. He then accelerated, going on to smash 15 fours and five sixes before he skied one.
Smith’s half-century came in just 46 balls, but with the set batsmen falling in consecutive overs – Smith got a cracker of a yorker from Lasith Malinga bowling around the wicket – Sri Lanka’s sharp fielding pulled things back. Glenn Maxwell, who began with a boundary and quickly followed it up with a six, pushed the total with 46* off 25 balls, but didn’t get much support from the middle order.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne came out swinging for Sri Lanka, batting against his grain at a healthy strike-rate. Kusal Perera then took over, racing to his half-century off just 33 balls as Australia’s new-ball bowlers came in for punishment.
With no front-line spinner in the XI, it was up to Maxwell to contain the runs, and he did, before Starc bounced back from an expensive opening spell to get a much-needed breakthrough – Kusal having no answer to the pace and finding his stumps rattled.
Karunaratne went on to get his highest ODI score, but fell three short of a hundred, caught at point off Kane Richardson. By then, Sri Lanka were in a collapse, with Starc picking up two in two. ICC