Australia skipper Aaron Finch led by example as his remarkable 153-run innings helped the reigning champions to post 334/7 during Saturday’s ICC Cricket World Cup match against Sri Lanka at the Oval, London. Finch’s incredible 153-run knock and former skipper Steve Smith’s brilliant 59-ball 73 was key towards Australia’s 334.
Finch and Smith had a staggering 178-run partnership for the third wicket stand. Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl first. Sri Lanka suffered an early scare when fast bowler Isuru Udana injured his shoulder in a failed attempt to stop Finch hitting a four in the fourth over.
He immediately grabbed at his left shoulder in pain and needed treatment before walking to the dressing room with an ice-pack on the injured area. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, Udana returned to the field and was able to start bowling soon after. Meanwhile, Australian openers Aaron Finch and David Warner started brightly for their team. They were batting steadily and crossed the 50-run mark within 10th over and were looking solid before spinner Dhananjaya de Silva got the wicket of last match’s centurion Warner, leaving Aussies at 80/1 after 16.4 overs.
After the wicket fell, skipper Finch picked up his half century of just 53 balls and tried to build alliance with Usman Khawaja. But shaky Khawaja (10) didn’t last long and became the second victim of De Silva’s ball.
However, Finch on the hand, was batting brilliantly alongside Steve Smith and was marching towards his century. Finch was hitting the ball left, right and center and picked up his classy century of 96 balls, taking his team’s total at 185/2 after 33 overs. Meanwhile, Smith was looking good and they both were building a formidable partnership. Australia’s 200-run mark and Finch, Smith’s 100-run partnership came during 35.3 overs. Their blistering 100-run alliance came from just 80 balls.
Smith, with his unorthodox style of batting, wasted no time and scored his half century of just 46 balls. Aussies were eyeing towards a big total with both these set batsmen on the crease. Both Finch and Smith were just unstoppable and were taking runs quickly. Brilliant Finch reached 150-run milestone off just 128 balls, with 15 fours and 5 maximums, taking his team’s total to 269/2 after 42 overs.
In the next over, Finch’s extraordinary innings finally came to an end. His 132-ball 153 run innings is the joint highest individual score of this World Cup as earlier England’s Jason Roy also scored 153 run against Bangladesh. After Finch’s departure, Smith followed him to the dugout, leaving Australia at 278/4 after 43.3 overs. Smith’s 59-ball 73 included 7 fours and 1 maximum. However, during the last phase of the match the Aussies lost their rhythm and couldn’t add as many runs as they would have liked to.
Before coming to this match, Sri Lanka had an abandoned game against Bangladesh whereas Australia won convincingly by 41 runs against Pakistan.