(Melbourne) Australia defeated Sri Lanka comprehensively in the first one day international of the VB Series here in Melbourne at the magnificent Telstra Dome, by a huge margin of 116 runs. Having won the toss, Sri Lankan captain Marvan Attapattu surprised every one by inviting the Australians to bat first on a fine batting wicket in a day/night game especially given the form of the Aussies in the current summer season in addition to their strong batting line up.
In the first few overs Sri Lankans dominated the game thanks to the superb bowling spell by Ruchira Perera. He bowled consistently and took the most important wickets of Adam Gilchrist (lbw) and clean bowled Ricky Ponting. Ponting’s wicket was very important as he has become one of the ruthless batting machines in the world cricket today. He scored centuries in each inning of his 100 th test against South Africa making him the only cricketer to do so. Ponting struggled against Perera having hit his fingers twice in the same over before he was comprehensively beaten by Perera. Apart from him none of the bowlers impressed including the ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Sri Lankans lost the fighting spirit in the middle part of the game against superb batting display of Damien Martin (70) and Andrew Symonds (66). Sri Lankans exhibited poor skills in fielding as they missed couple of easy run out chances and dropped a few catches which ultimately cots them dearly. At the end of 50 overs Australians piled up a massive score of 318 for 5, recording the highest score against Sri Lanka in an ODI.
Mahela fights back
Sri Lankans had a poor start (11 for 2 ) chasing a massive score of 318 after loosing the first two wickets pretty easily for Brett Lee. It was surprising the to see that reputed batsmen like Marven Attapattu and Mahela Jayawardene batted in the middle order leaving inexperienced batsmen to face the ferocious bowling attack of Lee and McGrath. Michel Vandort, who was the super-sub played a good inning but struggled against fast bowlers and scored 48 runs in 117 balls. Sri Lankans failed to exploit the fielding restrictions of the power play and scored very slowly until Mahela came to the wicket.
Mahela Jayawardene played a gem of an inning by scoring a fine 50 runs displaying that he is a natural sweet timer of the ball. Apart from the Mahela’s splendid inning and Russell Arnold’s (28 not out) resilience, all other batsmen failed to play up to the international standard of the short version of the game and Australia out performed Sri Lanka in all departments of the game of cricket. Sri Lankans managed score 202 for 7 at the end of the inning and did not show any fighting spirit and were unable to score at least 254 in which case they would have deprived the Australians from getting the bonus points.
It’s high time that Sri Lankan cricket administrators and selectors take a serious look at the present plight as they cannot afford to humiliate Sri Lankan cricket in the face of the world any further, not merely for loosing matches but for the loss of cricketing sense.
Sri Lanka will meet South Africa at Gabba stadium in Brisbane in their second match in the VB series on the 17 January.