Lucknow: Australia finally tasted victory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 after defeating Sri Lanka by five wickets in a low-scoring encounter at Ekana Cricket Stadium on Monday. The five-time champions, who had lost their first two matches, chased down the target of 210 with 14.4 overs to spare. On the other hand, Sri Lanka suffered their third straight defeat and remained at the bottom of the points table.
Australia’s chase was led by wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis, who scored a fluent 58 off 59 balls with five fours and a six. He shared a 75-run stand with opener Mitchell Marsh, who made 52 off 51 balls with seven fours. Marsh gave Australia a solid start after David Warner fell cheaply for 11.
Sri Lanka’s bowlers tried to create some pressure by dismissing Marsh and Marnus Labuschagne (40) in quick succession, but Glenn Maxwell (31 not out) and Marcus Stoinis (20 not out) ensured that there were no further hiccups. Maxwell hit three fours and a six in his 24-ball knock, while Stoinis finished the match with two consecutive boundaries off Dushmantha Chameera.
Earlier, Sri Lanka’s batting collapsed after a promising opening partnership of 125 between Kusal Perera and Pathum Nissanka. Perera smashed 12 fours in his 78 off 82 balls, while Nissanka hit eight in his 61 off 67 balls. The duo looked set to take Sri Lanka to a big total, but Australia’s bowlers fought back with some disciplined bowling and sharp fielding.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets for 47 runs, while skipper Pat Cummins took two wickets for 32 runs. Cummins broke the opening stand by having Nissanka caught by Warner at mid-off and then bowled Perera in his next over to reduce Sri Lanka to 157 for two.
Sri Lanka’s middle order failed to capitalize on the good start and lost wickets at regular intervals. Only Charith Asalanka (25) reached double figures as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 209 in 43.3 overs. They lost their last eight wickets for just 52 runs.
The win lifted Australia from 10th to eighth position in the points table, while Sri Lanka remained at ninth. Australia will face Bangladesh in their next match on October 20, while Sri Lanka will take on England on October 21.