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Aus-Lanka match abandoned after heavy rain

Colombo: Rain played spoilsport to a much-anticipated match as the cricket World Cup encounter between defending champions Australia and Sri Lanka was called off after 32.5 overs due to heavy rains here on Saturday.

After electing to bat, Sri Lanka made a shaky start but recovered to 146 for three in 32.5 overs before heavens opened up at R Premadasa Stadium and play was not possible after that due to incessant heavy rains.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera were batting on 73 and 34 respectively.

The heavy downpour began at around 5 pm local time and that forced the players indoors and it continued for more than two hours to deny Sri Lanka resume their innings.

The umpires finally decided to call off the match at around 7:45pm, leading to the two sides taking one point each from the abandoned Group A game.

After Saturday`s abandoned game, both the sides now have five points each but Sri Lanka have played four matches, one more than Australia.

Pakistan are on top of Group A with six points from three matches.

Earlier, Sri Lanka lost dashing opener Tillekratne Dilshan (4) in the second over of the match as he fell to fast bowler Shaun Tait`s express delivery which nearly hit the 150 kmph mark.

The ball pitched outside the off-stump and Dilshan went for an expansive drive only to be caught by Cameron White in the slip cordon.

Before that, a heated altercation took place between Tait and Dilshan after the batsman edged one past the slip cordon for four. Dilshan pulled out of facing the next delivery from Tait in the last moment resulting in a protest by Australian captain Ricky Ponting.

Skipper Sangakkara then joined Upul Tharanga (six off 18 balls) who looked in utter discomfort against Tait and his fast bowling colleague Brett Lee.

Lee, who has been bowling with a shorter run-up, then ended Tharanga`s misery in the seventh over of the Sri Lankan innings.

The delivery did not look like a wicket taking one as Lee provided a lot of width. But, Tharanga flashed hard and to his utter disbelief saw Steven Smith pull off a stunning one-handed catch at point.

Skipper Kumar Sangakkara then steadied the ship with Mahela Jayawardene, adding 44 runs for the third wicket from 8.4 overs before another smart piece of fielding saw the dismissal of the former captain.

With the boundaries drying up, the two most experienced Sri Lankan batsmen attempted the quick singles, at times living dangerously and a stop-start by Jayawardene saw him inches short of the crease when Smith hit the stumps direct.

The former captain pushed a Watson delivery towards cover but he was late on getting off his blocks. Smith, fielding at point, was there in a flash to pick up. His direct throw clipped off the bails at the non-striker`s end with Jayawardene still a foot short of his ground.

Jayawardene made 23 in 25 balls with three boundaries.

Sangakkara was joined by Thilan Samaraweera as they focussed on consolidation. The Lankan captain duly completed his 61st half century in ODIs off 69 deliveries with the help of five boundaries. The duo added 71 runs in 17.3 overs before heavens opened up.

Sangakkara`s unbeaten 73 came off 102 balls with seven fours while Samaraweera consumed 48 balls for his 34 with two boundaries.

Sri Lanka made one change to the side that beat Kenya by bringing in Ajantha Mendis in place of Nuwan Kulasekara as they opted for a three spin attack. Australia had retained the same side that beat New Zealand last week.

PTI

From Zee News

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