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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 11:00 GMT
Aussies cruise to opening victory
VB Series, Melbourne: Australia 318-5 (50 overs) bt Sri Lanka 202-7 (50 overs) by 116 runs

Brett Lee
Lee celebrates the wicket of Upul Tharanga in the first over
Australia made an emphatic start to the one-day VB Series with a 116-run win over Sri Lanka in Melbourne.

Sri Lanka won the toss but chose to bowl first, Damien Martyn continuing his fine form with 70 while Andrew Symonds slammed 66, with six fours.

Michael Clarke (45) and Mike Hussey (34) shared a stand of 80 in the last 10 overs to lift the total to 318-5.

The tourists were never in contention after Brett Lee bowled Upul Tharanga with the second ball of the innings.

Martyn scored the bulk of his runs in the second powerplay, cracking five fours and two sixes in his 64-ball innings, which followed a similarly thrilling 96 in the recent Twenty20 match with South Africa.

We lost momentum halfway through but had we had three wickets down for 70 then things would have changed
Marvan Atapattu

The match began with the Telstra Dome roof open, but it was closed when Clarke and Hussey came together in the 40th over with the score at 238-5.

Symonds had just departed in bizarre fashion, caught at mid-on off spinner Jehan Mubarak after his drive had looped into the air after hitting the pads of non-striker Clarke.

That dismissal came just six balls after Martyn was out attempting to drive a Dilhara Fernando delivery. The ball struck Martyn's back foot before hitting the stumps.

Big-scoring Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting had already been dismissed for 13, the skipper bowled having hit a six in his brief knock.

Lee's pace and movement beat Tharanga all ends up when Sri Lanka began their quest and also struck in his next over.

Andrew Symonds
Symonds fell in bizarre fashion at the Telstra Dome

When the in-form Kumar Sangakkara fell for 16 in the 11th over, they were struggling on 32-3.

Having arrived at the crease following the fall of Tharanga in the first over, Michael Vandort, on his one-day international debut, had to wait until the 25th for his first boundary.

He promptly slogged another boundary off the next ball but was eventually run out for 48 by another superb piece of fielding from Ponting, who flicked the ball out of the back of his hand to bowler Symonds.

Skipper Marvan Atapattu, who did not appear until that fifth wicket fell, made nine from 11 balls before he lofted the ball to mid-off, where Simon Katich timed his leap to perfection.

That gave a second wicket to left-arm spinner Brad Hogg, who replaced Martyn as supersub after 24 overs of the Sri Lankan innings.

Mahela Jayawardene top-scored for Sri Lanka with his 26th ODI fifty but was deceived by a slower ball and presented all-rounder James Hopes with a gentle return catch.

South Africa, who are the third team in the tournament, begin their campaign against Australia on Sunday.

The teams play each other four times, with the top two playing a best-of-three final, beginning on 10 February.




SEE ALSO
One-day jamboree
12 Jan 06 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka humbled in tour opener
11 Jan 06 |  Cricket
VB Series 2006
20 May 05 |  Future tour dates


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