Lanka having made 146 for 3 after captain Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and elected to bat against Australia in a Group A cricket World Cup match at the R. Premadasa Stadium here Saturday.
Kumar Sangakkara on 73 and Thilan Samaraweera on 34 were at the crease. The duo has put on an unbroken partnership of 71 for the fourth wicket so far.
Australia struck early, getting rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan, caught by Cameron White off Shaun Tait, reducing the hosts to 6 for one wicket. Upul Tharanga fell for 6, caught brilliantly by Steven Smith off Brett Lee.
Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene (23 off 25 balls) added 45 for the third wicket before the latter was brilliantly run out by Steven Smith.
The two former World Cup champions are playing in a match that the Aussies will want to win, to keep their unbeaten run in World Cups going. At the present, the defending champions have gone 31 matches unbeaten in World Cups, which also include two of their Championships.
Sri Lanka are playing all three spinners — Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis — in the game, with all-rounder Angelo Mathews sharing the new ball with Lasith Malinga.
The hosts will also look up to Malinga for a similar performance like the one he came up with against the Kenyans on Tuesday when he picked up six wickets including a hat-trick.
On the other hand, Australia’s spin stocks have not been the greatest in recent times. And after Nathan Hauritz got injured in the lead up to the World Cup, there is little for the Aussies to boost about in the spin department.
Australia would be looking at off-spinner Jason Krejza, who was brought in as Hauritz’s replacement, and all-rounder Steve Smith, who bowls leg-spin to bail them out in the game.
Kumar Sangakkara (captain and wicket-keeper), Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Silva.
Ricky Ponting (captain), Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wicket-keeper), Michael Clarke, David Hussey, Cameron White, Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Shaun Tait.(Agencies)