Rain rules in Colombo
Prolonged heavy rain forced the abandonment of Sri Lanka’s World Cup Group A encounter against Australia at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The result leaves the sides level on five points, albeit the hosts having played four matches to Australia’s three.
Sri Lanka, who won the toss, slipped to 31 for two before captain Kumar Sangakkara led a recovery with 73 not out. Sangakkara had ushered his side 146 for three in the 33rd over when the players were forced off and they could not return.
Australia’s opening bowlers Shaun Tait and Brett Lee each struck early: Tillakaratne Dilshan, having exchanged words with Tait and Ricky Ponting, slashed Tait to second slip in the second over and Steven Smith held a leaping one-handed catch at point after Upal Tharanga cut Lee in the seventh.
Faced with the bowling powerplay in the 11th over, Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene scored at around a run a ball but the latter was run out for 23 from Smith’s direct hit of the non-striker’s stumps from cover point.
Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera proceeded cautiously, only finding occasional boundaries in the middle overs, to forge an unbroken 71-run stand of which Samaraweera contributed 34.
He survived a review for lbw the ball before the players departed the field as Jason Krejza’s delivery was shown to be going down leg.
Ponting said: "It was shaping up to be a terrific game, wasn't it? It would have been a tough wicket to bat on in the second innings as well.
"The ball did spin a lot more than what we've seen in the first few games, so it would have been a tough run-chase for sure."
Following two wins from two prior to today’s game, he added: "We're pretty pleased with the way we've started the tournament.
"It's hard to gauge as the games against Zimbabwe and New Zealand we've won pretty comfortably and today, I don't think we bowled that badly.
"Overall we’re in pretty good shape. We've got seven or eight days before our next couple of games and that's probably the biggest challenge for us at the moment - making sure, after the days off, we peak at the right time.”
Australia are yet to make an announcement on Doug Bollinger's replacement for the rest of the tournament but, despite Mike Hussey appearing to be front-runner for the call-up, Ponting is not ready to pick his favourite.
"I haven't got a preference. Whoever we bring in will add a lot to our squad,” he said. "They [the selectors] have been saying all this week that they were waiting for the end of this Sri Lanka game to make their decision.
"Obviously 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."