Aussies crush Sri Lankans

Sydney, February 12:

Australia, powered by centuries from skipper Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, crushed Sri Lanka by 167 runs to level the three-match one-day series final.

There was always going to be only one winner after the Australians amassed their highest-ever total of 368/5 in 50 overs. The Sri Lankans succumbed to be all out for 201 in 36 overs.

Coming together at a perilous 10/3 after the first 18 balls, Ponting clobbered 124 off 127 balls and Symonds pounded the highest one-day innings of 151 off 127 balls at the SCG to surpass Australia’s all-wicket partnership record with 237.

Australia’s 368/5 also bettered the previous highest innings of 359, set twice against India. Australia were in trouble early on but Ponting and Symonds combined to snatch the match away from the Sri Lankans.

Ponting scored his 19th ODI century, passing Mark Waugh’s 18 as the most by an Australian.

Symonds hit 13 fours and three sixes and also claimed the highest ODI score on the famous ground, surpassing India’s Yuvraj Singh’s 139 against Australia in 2004. Michael Clarke rounded off the innings with an unbeaten 54 off 28 balls and with Mike Hussey (23 off eight balls) put on 48 for the unfinished sixth wicket.

Once Sri Lanka lost their top four batsmen, they were always struggling in the face of Australia’s massive total. Russel Arnold hit out lustily at the death to finish with an unbeaten 64.