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Riding on opener Aaron Finch's big century and a quickfire fifty by Steve Smith, Australia posted an imposing 334/7 against Sri Lanka in their World Cup group stage clash at the Kennington Oval here on Saturday.
The defending champions were looking to go past the 350-run mark at one stage but after the dismissals of Finch and Smith, the middle-order failed to capitalise. Skipper Finch, who smashed a brilliant 153 off 132 deliveries (4x15, 6x5), was involved in a crucial 173-run partnership with Smith, who took 59 balls for his 73 (4x7, 6x1).
Put into bat, Australia openers David Warner (26 off 48) and Finch started cautiously as their side touched the 50-run mark in 9.3 overs. Dhananjaya de Silva drew the first blood for Sri Lanka as the off-spinner castled Warner in the 17th over, leaving the opponents at 80/1.
de Silva struck again 20 runs later, this time packing back new batsman Usman Khawaja cheaply for 10.
Finch was then joined by Smith and the duo ensured that Sri Lanka didn't make any further inroads as they repaired the damage, keeping the opponent bowlers at bay. The duo propelled Australia past the 200-run mark in 35.3 overs. Enroute, Finch also notched up his hundred in style as he clobbered spinner Milinda Siriwardana for a six over long-off.
Australia crossed the 250-run mark in the 40th over after the duo hammered Nuwan Pradeep for four boundaries in one over.
Isuru Udana finally came up with the much-needed breakthrough as he accounted for Finch in the 43rd over with the Australia scoreboard reading 273/3. The defending champions could add just five runs before Lasith Malinga cleaned up Smith.
Glenn Maxwell then used the long handle to good effect to remain unbeaten on 46 (25 balls, 4x5, 6x1) while the other Australian batsmen -- Shaun Marsh (3), Alex Carey (4) and Pat Cummins (0) -- failed to get going.
For Sri Lanka, Udana and de Silva scalped two wickets each for 57 and 40 runs, respectively, while Maling bagged 1/61.
Brief scores: Australia 334/7 in 50 overs (Aaron Finch 153, Steve Smith 73; Dhananjaya de Silva 2/40) vs Sri Lnaka
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