Elegant Jayawardene guides Sri Lanka to 253/8 vs Australia

Elegant Jayawardene guides Sri Lanka to 253/8 vs Australia

Elegant Jayawardene guides Sri Lanka to 253/8 vs Australia

Veteran Mahela Jayawardene brought all his experience into play as he struck an unbeaten 84 to guide Sri Lanka to a respectable 253 for eight in their ICC Champions Trophy match against Australia here today.

Jaywardene made his runs off 81 balls and was involved in an useful partnership of 65 for the sixth wicket with Dinesh Chandimal, who contributed 31 off 32 balls.

Australia will need to chase down the target in 29.1 overs to ensure a place in the semifinals from group A alongside England.

The Lankans held the edge at the break, but in the event of Australia winning the game after 29.1 overs, New Zealand will be through.

Sent into bat, Sri Lanka were off to a poor start losing two wickets with just 20 runs on the board.

The islanders lost Kusal Perera early, seamer Mitchell Johnson having the left-handed batsman trapped in front of the wicket.

Clint McKay took the big wicket of Kumar Sangakkara when he had the experienced Sri Lankan batsman, trying to play his trademark shot through the cover region, caught by Glen Maxwell.

Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lahiru Thirimanne added 72 runs for the third wicket to steady the ship, before left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty sent back the opener, caught at slip by a diving Shane Watson for a 58-ball 34. Diving to his right, Watson picked the ball low and one-handed.

After labouring his way to a patient 57 off 86 balls, Thirimanne was done in by Johnson as he pulled a short and quick delivery outside off to Watson at midwicket. He hit four boundaries during his knock.

By the Thirimanne got out, Sri Lanka had made 128 for four, and it was time for Jayawardene to take charge of the situation.

Senior pro Jayawardene who hit 11 fours, including a few cheeky ones, saw skipper Angelo Mathews going back to the pavilion after his off stump was disturbed by James Faulkner.

Much before that, Jayawardene got off the blocks with two successive fours off Maxwell's left-arm spin. A delightful boundary over cover was followed by a reverse-sweep at the Kennington Oval.

Falkner's low full toss was effortlessly played down the legside for a four before Jayawardene chipped McKay over cover for same result.

The former skipper then took on Johnson, playing the left-arm pacer for two fours in the innings' 44th over. All it took for Jayawardene was a nudge and a tap to find the ropes.

The inside out shot was played against Faulkner, and the result was again a boundary.

Meanwhile Chandimal, after playing a handy knock of 31 off 32 balls, was taken care of by Johnson.

But Jayawardene remained there till the end to put pressure on the Aussies.