ICC World Twenty20, Barbados:
Australia 168-5 (20 overs) beat Sri Lanka 87 (16.2 overs) by 81 runs
White struck the ball beautifully to put the Aussies out of reach
Australia continued their unbeaten run in the ICC World Twenty20 as they saw off Sri Lanka by 81 runs in Barbados.
Though each team still have one game to play in the Super Eights, only an odd set of circumstances will deprive Australia of a semi-final berth.
Australia were in trouble at 30-4 but Cameron White (85) sparked a brilliant recovery and they finished on 168-5.
Sri Lanka crashed to a sorry 87 all out in 16.2 overs, with fast bowler Mitchell Johnson taking 3-16.
Although they had beaten West Indies comfortably on Friday, Sri Lanka's net run-rate took a nasty hit with this heavy defeat.
However they still have a decent chance of making the last four, and any sort of win over India on Tuesday should see them into the semi-finals, unless the Windies inflict a heavy defeat on Australia in the final Super Eights fixture.
Australia picked an unchanged side, but Sri Lanka have rotated squad members more than most other teams in this tournament, and did so once again.
One of the three coming in was Suraj Randiv, a 25-year-old off-spinner with a classical action who took 3-20 and appears now to have earned a place in the side for the remainder of the tournament.
Kept out last time when Muttiah Muralitharan insisted he was fit enough to bowl - the veteran player has been ruled out of the tournament not once but twice - Randiv came into the attack in the fifith over, with Australia already two wickets down, and was immediately in business.
David Warner was well caught above his head by Mahela Jayawardene at slip and David Hussey went first ball, over-balancing as he missed with his defensive prod and Kumar Sangakkara took a smart stumping.
Australia, with White and Michael Clarke in partnership together, began to build a platform but with the last ball of his spell Randiv bowled Aussie skipper Clarke.
Sri Lanka still had work to do, however, and they had already given White a life on 23, when Ajantha Mendis dropped him off Randiv.
The bowlers kept White quiet for a while, but he found his range in the 15th over when Mendis was driven for four over backward point and over extra cover for six.
Nannes has taken 12 wickets in Australia's four match so far
On 50, White was dropped again, a much tougher opportunity missed by wicketkeeper Sangakkara.
There were no further chances and over the last four overs all hell broke loose as White and Michael Hussey took 62 off the last four overs. Their unbroken partnership was worth 101 from nine overs in all.
White finished on 85 from 49 balls with six sixes, while Hussey rode a watchful start to compile 39 from 26, while the 12 overs shared by Mendis, Lasith Malinga and Chanaka Welegedara cost 122 runs and produced no wickets.
Jayawardene came into the game in sparkling form with three huge scores already under his belt. But once he was quickly unseated by the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, Dirk Nannes, one sensed the match was heading inevitably in Australia's direction.
Sanath Jayasuriya, who turns 41 next month and must be nearing retirement, was ill-disposed to deal with Australia's pacemen on the fast Kensington Oval track and was lbw to Nannes after Sangakkara had top-edged Shaun Tait to Brad Haddin.
Aided by a superlative catch from White, Johnson took two wickets in his first over to hasten Sri Lanka's decline.
Leg-spinner Steve Smith helped himself to two lower-order wickets, there was a crazy run-out and even Clarke joined the party when Malinga holed out at long-on. Johnson returned to finish it off emphatically, bowling Mendis with a yorker.
Afterwards, Clarke said: "We know we have the talent and potential, it's just about coming out every time and executing our plans. We've done well so far in these conditions. Fingers crossed if we do make the semi-finals we can do well there too."
Sangakkara admitted: "It really was a dismal batting performance by us. We could have kept them below 150 but that wouldn't have mattered with the way we batted. We didn't get the start we needed and we didn't build partnerships."
Australia will only fail to qualify for the semi-finals if they lose heavily to West Indies on Tuesday, with Sri Lanka thrashing India on the same day - as both sides would have to vastly improve their net run-rates to overhaul the Aussies.