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When Finch and team extended Sri Lanka’s misery – Almanack

Finch, Australia v Sri Lanka, 2019 WC
Lawrence Booth by Lawrence Booth
@the_topspin 2 minute read

Aaron Finch’s stroke-filled 153 – an Australian record for a captain in World Cups – helped the defending champions storm past Sri Lanka to register their fourth win at the 2019 World Cup. Here’s Lawrence Booth’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.

Australia v Sri Lanka
Match 20, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
The Oval, London
June 15, 2019

Sri Lanka began and ended the game in a foul mood, alleviated only by a breezy interlude. While Karunaratne and Kusal Perera started a pursuit of 335 with 115 in 15 overs, dressing-room anger over “very unfair” treatment by the ICC subsided.

Team manager Ashantha de Mel had written to them to complain about a number of issues, including the green pitches his side had faced in Cardiff, and the absence of a swimming pool at their hotel in Bristol. The ICC dismissed the grumble, which might have explained why – after a collapse of eight for 61 – the Sri Lankans declined to send anyone to the press conference.

Not that much analysis was needed: with the exception of two late run-outs in three balls by Udana off his own bowling, their fielding had been abysmal, allowing Finch to proceed to a powerful 153 from 132 balls. It was the highest score by an Australian captain at a World Cup, beating Ricky Ponting’s 140 not out in the 2003 final against India at Johannesburg.

Finch added 173 for the third wicket with Smith, before Maxwell provided the icing. Sri Lanka’s openers opted for valour above caution, taking 12 off the first over, from Starc, then racing past 50 in the seventh, and 100 in the 13th; Perera’s half-century needed just 33 deliveries. But after he was bowled by Starc, the runs slowed against the off-breaks of Maxwell. When he caught Karunaratne for 97, Sri Lanka caved in to Starc and Richardson, handing Australia their fourth win out of five, and top spot in the table.

First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack

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