White runs hot for Australia
Australia hammered Sri Lanka by 81 runs in the World Twenty20 Super Eight clash in Barbados after dismissing them for a meagre 87.
The result, and the resulting change in net run-rate, all but assures the victors of a semi-final berth.
Sri Lanka had started the match impressively, reducing Australia to 30 for four before Cameron White’s brutal unbeaten 85 off 49 balls and 39 not out from Mike Hussey lifted their total to 168 for five.
They carried that momentum into the field, with Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 20 the best of just three Sri Lanka scores in double figures.
Dirk Nannes, one of the most impressive bowlers in the competition, struck early when the in-form Mahela Jayawardene pulled to Steven Smith at fine-leg.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara gloved an attempted hook off Shaun Tait moments later, Nannes trapped Sanath Jayasuriya in front and Dilshan was superbly taken by a diving White at point off Mitchell Johnson after hitting two fours and a mighty six.
Angelo Mathews sliced a drive off Johnson to Mike Hussey, running in from deep cover, and leg-spinner Smith bowled Chamara Kapugedera with a quicker ball before the last four wickets tumbled for the addition of four runs.
Nannes ran out Suraj Randiv with a direct hit from third man, Dinesh Chandimal was stumped for 19 giving Smith the charge, Lasith Malinga holed out to long-on and Ajantha Mendis was bowled making room to Johnson to confirm a crushing Sri Lanka defeat.
Australia’s total was built around White’s sensational innings, which included six fours and six sixes. He and Mike Hussey shared an unbroken stand of 101 in nine blistering overs to rescue them from a perilous 67 for five.
It tilted the balance of power firmly in Australia’s favour after Sri Lanka had seized the early initiative.
Mathews kicked things off by bowling Shane Watson via the inside edge in the first over, and Brad Haddin, who skied to Jayasuriya, in his next.
Randiv, the off-spinner, located David Warner’s edge and had David Hussey, overbalancing as he attempted to work the ball to leg, stumped off successive deliveries to further weaken Australia’s position.
What followed proved to be pivotal. White, on 23, top-edged a sweep off Randiv, but the leaping Mendis failed to cling on to a tough chance.
Thereafter White took complete control, making light of the loss of Michael Clarke - bowled making room to Randiv - to launch a ferocious assault.
Ably abetted by David Hussey, who struck four fours and a six off the 26 balls he faced, White wreaked havoc, most notably at the end of the innings when Chanaka Welegedara and Mendis were both taken for two sixes in an over.
Welegedara, Mendis and Malinga each conceded at least 40 off their four overs, in marked contrast to the admirable figures of Randiv (3-20) and Mathews (2-24).