Australia defeat Sri Lanka in opening ODI match

1471814097678Half-centuries from Steve Smith and Aaron Finch lifted Australia to a morale-boosting three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the opening one-day international in Colombo on Sunday.

The Aussies put aside their embarrassing 3-0 Test whitewash to grind out a hard-fought victory on a dry slow wicket and take an early advantage in the five-match series.

During the opening one day international in Colombo, half-centuries from Steve Smith and Aaron Finch lifted Australia to a morale boosting win over Sri Lanka.

A determined looking Smith led the way with a gritty 58 under lights in the Sri Lankan capital, as the Aussies survived a late flurry of wickets to reach 7-228 and pass the victory total with 3.1 overs to spare.

Finch settled early nerves in the run chase with some hard-hitting that included a six in the first over, eventually scoring 56 off 46 deliveries against an attack shorn of injured spin king Rangana Herath.

Smith and George Bailey (39) shared a stand of 62 for the fourth wicket, before the Aussie captain was dismissed by a stunning close-range catch from substitute fielder Danushka Gunathilaka.

There were also key contributions with the ball from James Faulkner and Mitchell Starc as Sri Lanka briefly threatened to be on track for a big total.

Starc (3-32), as always, was a central figure taking three top order wickets for 32 off his ten overs, including bowling opener Kusal Perera with the fifth ball of the match.

Starc’s second wicket, Dhananjaya de Silva, saw him become the fastest man to reach 100 one-day international wickets (52 matches), edging a mark set by Pakistan’s Saqlain Mushtaq almost two decades ago.

Sri Lanka advanced relatively comfortably to 2-124 at over four runs an over, before all-rounder Faulkner (4-38) struck twice within an over on his way to career-best figures.

Faulkner secured the crucial wicket of Kusal Mendis (67) with the first ball of second spell, and then had captain Angela Matthews out for a duck thanks to a spectacular catch by Travis Head.

Starc, who dismissed Kusal Perera in the first over of the innings, returned to take two more wickets as Sri Lanka lost four middle-order wickets for 49 as the brakes were applied to the run-rate.

Dinesh Chandimal was the mainstay of the innings with the No.4 compiling a tidy 80 not out, as Sri Lanka reached 8-227 in front of a large and buoyant crowd at the R Premadasa Stadium.

The second match of the series will be played at the same venue on Wednesday. (Courtesy AAP)