What was supposed to be a quiet Monday soon changed into a freak show due to a dust storm accompanied by a bout of rain at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium at Lucknow. But this didn’t dampen the spirits of the Australian squad which went on to defeat Sri Lanka by five wickets to register their first win of the ODI Men’s Cricket World Cup, 2023.
Although the spirited Sri Lankan side posed a healthy challenge to the Aussies it was the Kangaroos who came on top at the end. It was the resurgence of opener Mitchell Marsh(52 in 51 balls) combined with the heroics of Josh Inglis(58 in 59 balls), Marnus Labuschagne(40 in 60 balls), Glenn Maxwell(31 in 21 balls, not out) with the finishing touch provided by Marcus Stoinis(20 in 10 balls, not out) with a superb six that helped draw the curtains of the match.
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. The desperation of the Australians was quite evident as veteran quickie Mitchell Starc squandered off a review on the very first ball of the innings. But the Sri Lankan openers stood their ground for 21 overs with the first loss of a wicket coming in the 22nd over of Lankan opener Pathum Nissanka (61 in 67 balls) with skipper Pat Cummins(7-0-32-2) drawing first blood. Still, the Lankan openers managed to put up a combined opening stand of 125 runs.
After Nissanka fell, opening partner Kusal Perera(78 in 82 balls) continued to showcase his batting skills. But the Australian skipper, Pat Cummins had other plans as he scalped his second off a good length delivery which swung into Perera, getting him bowled.
Captain Kusal Mendis(9 in 13 balls) was the next victim of the Aussie bowling attack with leg-break spinner Adam Zampa swinging into action with the assistance of an amazing catch by the acrobatic David Warner. Although Zampa leaked some runs in his initial spell of 3 overs, he redeemed himself with this wicket.
The tricky Adam Zampa rose from the ashes like a phoenix and turned out to be the hero for the Australians. The spinner fast-tracked the Lankan collapse by clinching 3 more wickets effectively putting an end to the Lankan batting lineup. He trapped the trio of right-handed Lankan batters for LBWs with his crafty googlies. Zampa registered figures of 8-1-47-4. This 4 wicket haul is his best figure in this World Cup.
Australia won the match by 5 wickets with 14.4 overs to spare. Adam Zampa was named Player of the Match. With this, the points table reads as follows: