After registering three convincing victories in four games, Australia kept on the momentum against Sri Lanka at The Kennington Oval, London. The defending champions finished the first half of the match with a daunting first innings total. Australian skipper Aaron Finch led his team from the front, racking up a staggering knock and Steve Smith also batted extremely well to compile a magnificent partnership along with his skipper. The Lankan bowlers did make a slight comeback in the last few overs, but overall they had a pretty tough day in the field.
Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and elected to bowl first as he reckoned that the moisture on the pitch will assist his seamers and thus, he opted for the advantage. However, the two Australian in-form openers, David Warner and Aaron Finch dispersed off his plans quite immediately. The duo batted superbly well to bring up the half-century partnership in just the 11th over. The pair added a beautiful stand of 80 runs for the first wicket before Warner got dismissed by Dhananjaya de Silva in the 17th over.
Finch and Smith combine together to put up a marathon stand
Even after losing his opening partner, skipper Finch continued to play his natural aggressive game, notching up his 24th ODI fifty off 53 balls. Usman Khawaja, who was sent in at number three, failed to contribute a significant score as de Silva plucked out his second scalp of the day. After these two quick wickets, Finch combined together with Steve Smith to take forward Australia’s progress in the innings.
Both the batters, Finch and Smith showed some great composure and temperament to keep the Sri Lankan bowlers at bay during the middle-overs stage. Finch batted extremely well to rack up a phenomenal hundred, which is the 14th ton in the ODI format. He compiled a fabulous partnership of 173 runs along with Smith. The Australian skipper played a brilliant innings of 153 runs off just 132 balls that included of 15 fours and 5 sixes, before getting out while attempting another big shot in the 43rd over.
Smith also got bowled out for a vital 59-ball 73, off a beautiful yorker delivery bowled by Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga in the very next over. With Finch’s wicket, Australia suffered a batting collapse as they lost their next five wickets for just 47 runs. Glenn Maxwell played a crucial cameo of 46 runs off just 25 balls to help Australia finish with an imposing total of 334 runs in their quota of 50 overs. For Sri Lanka, de Silva and Isuru Udana picked up two wickets each.
Australia 334/7 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch-153, Steve Smith-73, Glenn Maxwell-46*; Dhananjaya de Silva 2/40) vs Sri Lanka.