WC 2003 - De Silvas knock in vain, Aussies thrash Lanka by 96
Published: Saturday, March 8, 2003, 3:13 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Kenyan skipper Tikolo elects to bat against India
Centurion: Reigning champion Australia booked its place in the World Cup semi-finals with a 96-run demolition of Sri Lanka in the opening match of the Super Sixes on Friday.Skipper Ricky Ponting hit 114 off 109 balls and Adam Gilchrist was run out for 99 as Australia took advantage of Sri Lanka's bungling in the field to hammer 319 for five from 50 overs.The Sri Lankans were shot out for 223 in reply after express bowler Brett Lee sent captain Sanath Jayasuriya to hospital with a bruised left forearm and then wrecked the top order with three wickets to make it 48 for four.Veteran Aravinda De Silva played a lone hand with a superb 92 off 94 balls, but the damage done by Lee at the start made victory impossible as the required run-rate rose to nine an over half way through the innings.Jayasuriya was hit on the forearm by a 150kmh delivery in Lee's first over and retired hurt for one. X-rays taken at hospital did not reveal a fracture but a chipped bone in the thumb kept him out of the rest of the game.Australia, which carried forward a maximum 12 points after winning all six preliminary round matches, earned four more and found itself in the semi-finals even before its two remaining Super Sixes games against New Zealand and Kenya.Sri Lanka contributed to its own downfall by a comedy of errors in the field after Australia won the toss and elected to bat. Ponting was lucky to escape two extraordinary fumbles by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara before he had reached 40, first a stumping off Muttiah Muralitharan and then a run out.Both times Sangakkara swiped the ball over the stumps without dislodging the bails. Muralitharan then failed to grasp a catch at point when Gilchrist was on 96, but the batsman added just three more when he was run out trying to give Ponting a second run.Hashan Tillekeratne also failed to reach a simple skier in the 48th over, but he at least could be excused for failing to sight the ball against the sun. Gilchrist's 99 came off 88 deliveries and was studded with 14 boundaries and two towering sixes.Ponting, who added 106 off 105 balls for the second wicket with Gilchrist, responded by taking 20 runs in one over from Chaminda Vaas which ended with two successive sixes.When Sangakkara finally took a catch to remove Ponting, who top-edged a pull off Dilhara Fernando, Australia had cruised to 293 for three in the 46th over.The Australian captain's 12th One-day century included eight boundaries and four sixes. Damien Martyn helped himself to 52 off 51 balls to push Australia past the 300-run mark.Fernando removed Martyn and Darren Lehmann in the final over to finish with three for 47 in nine overs.Australia, already without the banned Shane Warne and the injured Jason Gillespie, took the field without Andrew Symonds who was nursing a thigh injury. All-rounder Ian Harvey took his place.Australia next plays New Zealand at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday. Sri Lanka takes on India at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday.