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Australia in semis after Lankan rout

By Marcus Prior
March 07, 2003 21:51 IST
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Australia stormed into the World Cup semi-finals on Friday as Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee swept Sri Lanka regally aside on Friday.

Ponting hammered his 12th one-day century to set the tone during Australia's 319 for five in their opening Super Six match.

Strike bowler Lee then laid waste to the Sri Lankan top order, sending Sanath Jayasuriya to hospital in the process as the world champions won by 96 runs.

Sri Lanka at least ended the day with two consolations, Aravinda de Silva hitting a defiant 94-ball 92 while Jayasuriya's x-rays revealed bad bruising and a chipped thumb bone rather than the suspected broken forearm. Sri Lanka ended on 223 off 47.4 overs.

But Australia's victory, their 13th one-day success in a row and against the 1996 champions, confirmed their all-encompassing dominance in the tournament.

They had reached the second round with a maximum 12 points after the first round and now, with 16 points, are guaranteed a place in the last four. At least two teams -- Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe -- cannot match that points total.

Earlier Adam Gilchrist had set Australia on their way with an 88-ball 99 before becoming the 13th player in one-day internationals to fall one short of a century.

Australia scored at six an over throughout their innings, completely dominating their opponents quicks and spinners.

Sri Lanka, however, did not help themselves.

Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara somehow missed the wicket trying to stump Ponting on 16, then missed the stumps again with his gloves after catching a throw with Ponting, on 35, short of his ground.

Sri Lanka were forced to try seven bowlers by the 25th over.

Ponting lofted Muralitharan for six over long on, then reached his hundred in the 43rd over off 96 deliveries.

In reply, Jayasuriya was hit after making a single from five balls and the reply soon unravelled.

Marvan Atapattu had the audacity to hit two boundaries off Lee in the 10th over but was then caught and bowled low down for 16 to make it 42 for one and Mahela Jayawardene was then caught for a three-ball duck while Hashan Tillakaratne was bowled by Glenn McGrath and Arnold, on one, fell lbw to Lee. At 48 for four, with three wickets falling for two runs, there was no way back.

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Marcus Prior
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