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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 16:16 GMT
Rampant Australia through to final
Australia are on course for back-to-back World Cup wins
Australia will play in their third successive World Cup final
World Cup semi-final, Port Elizabeth: Australia: 212-7 (50 overs) beat Sri Lanka 123-7 (38.1 overs) by 48 runs (D-L method)

Australia have sauntered into their third successive World Cup final after brushing Sri Lanka aside with contemptuous ease in Port Elizabeth.

Chasing 213 to win, Sri Lanka were 123 for seven when rain forced the players from the field in the 39th over.

Either India or Kenya await the reigning champions in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Sri Lanka were bullied off their game by the pace of Brett Lee, who took three scalps in an opening spell that saw the 1996 winners lose six wickets for 39.

The batting let us down badly again
Sanath Jayasuriya

But the Aussies were also hugely indebted to Andrew Symonds, whose stylish unbeaten 91 bucked the trend on a low-scoring pitch.

The middle-order batsman survived a stumping chance before propelling Australia to a decent total.

After winning the toss, the Aussies sped to 34 in five hectic overs.

It took a refreshing piece of chivalry to stop them in their tracks when Adam Gilchrist walked despite an appeal for caught behind being given not out by umpire Rudi Koertzen.

Australia were in trouble when Vaas removed skipper Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden, both batsmen playing too early on attacking shots and scooping chances that were deftly held.

Both Symonds and Darren Lehmann played responsibly to get Australia's innings back on track.

There is still a bit of improving to do yet
Ricky Ponting

The pair added 93 in 22 overs but Lehmann was denied the chance to cash in on his patience when Jayasuriya bowled him to grab the first of his two scalps.

The Sri Lanka skipper found himself on a hat-trick when Michael Bevan edged behind first ball.

Brad Hogg survived but Australia were reeling again - Ian Harvey fell to Vaas, whose three wickets took him to 23 for the tournament - the best return in any World Cup.

But the waywardness of Pusanthi Gunaratne allowed Symonds and Andy Bichel to score freely at the death.

Chaminda Vaas
Vaas' wicket haul ended on 23, a tournament record

Symonds ran out of time to add a century to the one he scored against Pakistan, but his effort meant Sri Lanka would have to set new chasing standards at the ground for this World Cup to win.

They started promisingly before the loss of Marvan Atapattu, clean bowled by a 100 mph Lee thunderbolt, sparked the side's torrid top-order slide.

Glenn McGrath chipped in with the wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya before Hashan Tillakaratne and Avishka Gunawardene fished tamely at Lee and were caught off edges.

The game was over as a contest when Aravinda de Silva fell to a superb direct hit from Andy Bichel off his own bowling.

Kumar Sangakkara and Vaas battled admirably to the end, putting on 47 runs in 12 overs before weather sealed Sri Lanka's fate.

In extending their winning sequence in one-dayers to 16, Australia atoned for their 1996 final defeat at the hands of Jayasuriya's men.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Darren Lehmann, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Ian Harvey.

Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda De Silva, Russel Arnold, Mahela Jayawardene, Avishka Gunawardena, Hashan Tillakaratne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Pulasthi Gunaratne

Umpires: David Shepherd, Rudi Koertzen.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting
"It was tough batting out there"

Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya
"The batting let us down very badly"

Key Battles: Australia v Sri Lanka
17 Mar 03 |  Team Pages
Have Your Say on Australia
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Have Your Say on Sri Lanka
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say

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