Day 12 Talking Points: Australia find their groove just in time
Future bright for Asalanka
Ahead of the clash against Australia, Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur lavished praise on Charith Asalanka and Pathum Nissanka, touting them as the next generation of Sri Lanka’s batting.
“To see Charith’s development has been incredible,” Arthur said. “I remember Charith arriving into our bubble just before we went to England, and to see Charith’s journey from England to where he is now is a credit to himself. The way he’s gone about his work, the professionalism that he’s shown, and his preparation for every game has been fantastic. To see a young player like Charith get better and better has been very rewarding for us.”
Asalanka had already shown the world a glimpse of what he is capable of with a Player of the Match-winning performance against Bangladesh in Sri Lanka’s first Super 12 game at Sharjah.
Then too, he had walked in after an early wicket and took the attack right to the bowlers, not allowing them to settle down.
Against Australia, he put the pressure right back on Cummins with two boundaries off his first two balls. He then took on Maxwell, smashing him for a six and a four to take him out of the attack after just one over.
His 27-ball 35 put Sri Lanka in command at the time, but unfortunately, his team couldn't build on the foundation in the middle overs and the death.
Warner finds his touch
There was a lot of uncertainty around David Warner coming into the World Cup and also after returning below-par scores in the warm-up games and the opener against South Africa.
He put those questions to rest with a sensational half-century, taking Australia very close to victory by the time he got out. Kusal Perera gave him a lifeline after dropping a sitter early on and he made full use of it by making Sri Lanka pay.
One aspect of his innings that stood out was how he went about playing Maheesh Theekshana, who had wreaked havoc in all of Sri Lanka’s games so far.
While the rest of the batters who have come against the mystery spinner have struggled to read him, Warner played him with relative ease, hitting Theekshana for a four in each of his four overs as he returned wicketless for the first time in the World Cup.
Australia make a statement
It was a thorough all-round performance from Australia to trump Sri Lanka in their second game of the tournament.
With the ball, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa found form, with both of whom scalping two wickets each in the middle overs to trigger a collapse, as Sri Lanka went from 78/1 to 94/5. Zampa was awarded Player of the Match with his stunning figures of 2/12 in four overs.
Australia would especially be pleased with their performance with the bat, after a shaky performance in their Super 12 opener against South Africa. Both David Warner and Aaron Finch looked at their best together after a very long time.
Steve Smith played a steady innings to take the chase deep and Stoinis, who took Australia across the line against Proteas, once again finished off in style.
Australia next face their arch-rivals England and they could not have asked for a better game to get in the groove for the big match-up.