WC 2003 - Fiery Lee ~~spells~~ doom for Sri Lankans

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2003, 3:47 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Defending champion Australia demonstrated its ruthless ambition to hang onto its title as it stormed into the World Cup final with a brutal execution of Sri Lanka at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.Defending just 212 for seven at St George's Park, it had Sri Lanka struggling at 123 for seven off 38.1 overs when torrential rain swept across the ground.With a revised target of 172 under the Duckworth-Lewis method, the Australians were declared the winners by 48 runs.It was their 16th successive One-day victory and it gave them a place in Sunday's final at the Wanderers against either India or Kenya. As soon as Brett Lee bowled Marvan Atapattu with the score on 21, Sri Lanka knew they were in for a hard afternoon. It got a lot tougher when Glenn McGrath sent back skipper Sanath Jayasuriya (17) and Lee mopped up Hashan Tillekeratne (3) and Avishka Gunawardena (1) to have them reeling at four for 43 .When Aravinda de Silva was run-out by a direct hit from Andy Bichel for just 11, it was all over even though Kumar Sangakkara, 39, and Chaminda Vaas, 21, tried to mount a rearguard action and were unbeaten when the rains came.Earlier, Andrew Symonds hit an unbeaten 91 after his team won the toss and elected to bat on another slow pitch. Sri Lankan left-arm swing bowler Chaminda Vaas took three for 34 to set a new World Cup tournament record of 23 wickets. "I bowled very well in my first spell," said Vaas, who gave his team a flying start by dismissing Matthew Hayden and Australian skipper Ricky Ponting."I managed to find the right spot and then the spinners took over. Between us, we kept it very tight in the first fifteen overs." Australia's problems began when Adam Gilchrist "walked" in the sixth over when Jayasuriya turned to the off-spin of Aravinda de Silva after the Australians made a fast start.Gilchrist hit 22 as Australia raced to 34 for no wicket before the Australian wicket-keeper tried to sweep De Silva's second ball. The ball looped off his pad and glove and was caught by wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara. The Sri Lankans appealed but umpire Rudi Koertzen appeared to turn them down, only for Gilchrist to head back to the dressing room. Ponting and opener Hayden soon followed before Symonds and Darren Lehmann (36) put on 93 for the fourth wicket before Lehmann was bowled when he shaped to cut Jayasuriya.De Silva finished with two for 36, Jayasuriya claimed two for 42 and Muthiah Muralitharan conceded only 29 runs in his 10-over spell. Copyright AFP 2001

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