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Cricket World Cup: Rain ends Australia-Sri Lanka match

World Cup Group A, Colombo (R Premadasa Stadium):
Sri Lanka 146-3 Australia (32.5 overs) MATCH ABANDONED - NO RESULT

Match scorecard

Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara

Rain scuppers Sangakkara and Sri Lanka

By Oliver Brett

Sri Lanka and Australia had to settle for a point each in Colombo after heavy rain forced the abandonment of their keenly-contested Group A match.

Kumar Sangakkara was on 73, sharing a stand of 71 with Thilan Samaraweera (34) in a Sri Lanka total of 146-3 when a terminal downpour hit on 32.5 overs.

Australia had dismissed both openers cheaply and tightened their grip when Mahela Jayawardene was run out for 23.

But an absorbing battle was developing when the players were forced off.

Frustrated spectators - this match had sold out weeks in advance - were at least able to see an intelligent innings from Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara. He used his wealth of knowledge gained on such wickets to register his 61st one-day half century and repair some of the early damage suffered by his team.

Kumar Sangakkara
Sangakkara played some lovely shots in an unfulfilled innings

Having announced a side featuring three specialist spinners, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first - the favoured recipe for success on this ground.

However, Tillakaratne Dilshan departed in a spicy second over, which began with him despatching Shaun Tait's first ball for four with a risky slice past the slips.

Tait did not think much of Dilshan's shot and told him so. The batsman responded by pulling away at the last moment when the Australia paceman prepared to deliver again. Dilshan eventually missed Tait's second ball but was dismissed by the fourth when another wild swish resulted in a nick to Cameron White at second slip.

By contrast, the left-handed Sangakkara got going with some effortless drives, placed and timed to perfection. But a second Sri Lankan wicket fell in the seventh over when Upul Tharanga was unable to clear backward point with a square cut off Brett Lee, Steve Smith leaping to claim a good catch.

Sangakkara established a more meaningful partnership with Jayawardene before the two batsmen hesitated for a fraction of a second over a quick single to cover. A direct hit from Smith just grazed the bails at the non-striker's end with Jayawardene was short of his ground.

We were realistically looking at anything close to 250 or slightly above. It would have been a great game of cricket

Kumar Sangakkara

The Sri Lankan innings entered a tentative rebuilding phase, allowing Ricky Ponting to call on his inexperienced spinners, Smith and Jason Krejza, who both found some turn and bounce. But Sangakaara and Samaraweera were beginning to play some authoritative shots before being cut off in their prime.

Groundstaff managed to cover the entire playing area but although the rain eventually eased, there was not time for them to dry the outfield and allow Australia to face 20 overs, the minimum necessary to constitute a match.

The no-result strengthened Pakistan's position as surprise leaders of Group A with three wins from three, but Australia remain unbeaten and in strong shape. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will also go through comfortably to the quarter-finals if they beat Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Australia have still not named a replacement for injured fast bowler Doug Bollinger, though Ponting appeared to leave the door ajar for Mike Hussey.

The Aussie skipper said: "They've given Michael Hussey a chance to play in the Sheffield Shield back in Australia. Peter Siddle and Dirk Nannes played in it as well. I'm pretty sure the decision will be made in the next couple of days."

Sangakkara said: "The game was really poised... 18 overs to go and we were realistically looking at anything close to 250 or slightly above. It would have been a great game of cricket had it continued."

Suraj Dandeniya, Sri Lanka's ICC World Cup director, warned spectators not to expect compensation. He told Reuters: "There won't be any refund of the tickets because the match was played. If there was not a single ball bowled, then we would have refunded the money."

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see also
World Cup day 15 photos
05 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka v Australia as it happened
05 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Malinga hat-trick hammers Kenya
01 Mar 11 |  Cricket
Efficient Pakistan beat Sri Lanka
26 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Holders Australia see off Kiwis
25 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Holders Australia crush Zimbabwe
21 Feb 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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