London [UK], Jun 15 (ANI): Aaron Finch played a knock of 153 runs and Mitchell Starc scalped four wickets as Australia defeated Sri Lanka by 87 runs in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World Cup on Saturday at the Oval.
Chasing a target of 335, Sri Lanka got off to a quickfire start as openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera played in an aggressive style from the very start. The duo enabled Sri Lanka to reach the score of 87 runs after the first ten overs.
In the 12th over, Australia appealed for LBW but it was turned down by the umpire. Australia had lost their review in the tenth over, and if they had a review up their sleeve, Sri Lanka would have lost their opening wicket. Mitchell Starc clean bowled Perera (52) in the 16th over, ending the 115-run partnership between Karunaratne and Perera.
Lahiru Thirimanne came out to bat next, and he along with Karunaratne stitched a 38-run stand, but their resistance was cut short by Jason Behrendorff as he scalped the wicket of Thirimanne (16) with Sri Lanka still requiring 182 runs for the win.
Kusal Mendis and Karunaratne stitched a 33-run partnership, but as Sri Lanka was gaining an upper hand in the match, Australia once again clawed their way in the clash as Behrendorff dismissed set batsman Karunaratne (97) in the 33rd over.
After Karunaratne's departure, Sri Lanka's chase derailed as Angelo Mathews (9), Milinda Siriwardana (3), and Thisara Perera (7) departed quickly, reducing Sri Lanka to 217 for six, still requiring 118 runs for the win.
Mitchell Starc continued to bowl lethal deliveries and the Sri Lankan batsmen had no answers. Mendis' (30) dismissal proved the final nail in the coffin as Australia secured victory by 87 runs.
Earlier, Aaron Finch's knock of 153 runs propelled Australia to 334 runs for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted fifty overs. Finch's knock marked the first century scored by a skipper in this edition of the World Cup.
Openers David Warner and Finch gave Australia a steady start as the duo put up a partnership of 80 runs. Dhananjaya de Silva scalped the first wicket for Sri Lanka as Warner (26) was sent back to the pavilion in the 17th over. Usman Khawaja (10) also failed to leave a mark as he was dismissed by de Silva, reducing Australia to 100 for two in the 23rd over.
Steve Smith came out to bat at number four, and he ensured that the team does not lose momentum in the middle overs. Smith and Finch added 173-runs for the fourth wicket, which saw Finch bringing up his century. After reaching his century, the Aussie skipper changed gears and started playing attacking shots.
Finch (153) and Smith (73) were dismissed in quick succession. Australia kept on losing wickets at regular intervals but Glenn Maxwell's cameo of 46 runs off just 25 balls enabled Australia to go past the 330-run mark.
Australia will next take on Bangladesh on June 20 whereas Sri Lanka will face tournament hosts England on June 21.
Brief Scores: Australia 334/7 (Aaron Finch 153, Steve Smith 74, Dhananjaya de Silva 2-40) defeat Sri Lanka (Dimuth Karunaratne 97, Kusal Perera 52, Mitchell Starc 4-55) by 87 runs. (ANI)