Sri Lanka 243-9 (44.2 ovs) beat Australia 239-8 (50 ovs) by one wicket
Australia managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of a victory in the first one day international of this cricket season, at the MCG. Australia made 239-8 batting first. There were some disappointments but Haddin made 49 and Mike Hussey restored some respect to the score, making 71 not out. Hussey took to the field at 85 for 2 in the 17th over and batted through to the close. But he never had any partner that accompanied him for very long. He said at the close of the innings that he thought it was a below par score.
The Sri Lanka innings started well for Australia with Tharanga and Dilshan being dismissed in single figures. Sangakakkara and Jayawardene put on 54 for the third wicket before a collapse that left Sri Lanka reeling on 107 for 8. Spinner Xavier Doherty took 4 wickets on his debut, but then the wheels fell off. Angelo Mathews and Malinga created a new 9th wicket record for Sri Lanka scoring 132 runs. Malinga was only dismissed when the scores were even.
Much is being said about Australia forgetting how to win and things are looking grim for the upcoming Ashes series. We know that the days of the Invincibles are over, where someone would always stand up when the chips were down. Australia no longer has those exceptionally talented players throughout the team. But they are still a solid side and hopefully will show their pride when they face the old enemy. But it is going to be a tough uphill battle on current form.
The answer to Australia’s problems is not to drop Mike Hussey as has been suggested in some quarters. This is mainly due to him being from WA. If he was from the Eastern States nothing much would be said of his recent form. But as he is West Australian his position in the team is always under threat, according to the Eastern States press. Fortunately I believe that he has more support with the selectors and certainly from the Captain. Hussey is always likely to pull out a match saving innings like he did today. Well it would have saved the match, if the bowlers could have managed the last two wickets for anything less than 133 runs, sounds more than achievable to me.
Ricky Ponting missed the match due to a family bereavement, but will be available for the Sydney game on Friday. He has not played a ODI since the series against England finished in July. Let’s hope he can bring a change of fortunes, one is urgently required.