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Australia Beats Sri Lanka By 7 Wickets In 1st ODI

PTI 10 Aug 2011, 22:25:16 IST

Pallekele, Aug 10: Mitchell Johnson's career-best six wickets and Shane Watson's aggressive innings of 69 runs led Australia to a seven-wicket victory in the opening one-day international against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Johnson's left-arm seamers claimed 6-31 to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest 191, with lower-order batsman Suraj Randiv top-scoring with a six and four boundaries in 41 runs at Pallekele International Stadium.

Watson then hit six sixes and five boundaries to help Australia to its first win of the tour after having lost both Twenty20 matches to Sri Lanka, assisted by half-centuries from captain Michael Clarke (53 not out) and former skipper Ricky Ponting (53).

"I think we are off to a fantastic start in this series," Clarke said. "Mitchell bowled beautifully and executed his skill very well today. We've got a long way to go I think today is just a start."

Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan blamed bad batting for his team's loss.

"We took some bad options. We batted badly, a total of 250 would have been handy for the spinners," Dilshan said.

Batting first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka made a steady start with Upul Tharanga and Dilshan taking the total to 54 runs.

Tharanga, who was back in the side after serving a suspension for using a banned substance at this year's World Cup, hit seven boundaries for 34 runs before being bowled by left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty.

Offspinner David Hussey had Dilshan caught by Doug Bollinger for 29 with the total on 76.

Johnson entered the fray and had Mahela Jayawardene caught behind for 3 before running through the middle and lower order.

He also took the crucial wickets of Kumar Sangakkara (16), Dinesh Chandimal (15), Jeevan Mendis (2) and Randiv in eclipsing his previous best figures of 5-26 against India in 2007.

Australian openers Brad Haddin and Watson shared 59 runs before Haddin was bowled by spinner Ajantha Mendis for 12.

Watson was caught by Jayawardene off spinner Randiv after facing only 51 balls.

Clarke and Ponting put on 101 for the third wicket to ensure victory. Ponting hit five boundaries in 71 balls, while Clarke hit only one boundary in a measured knock.

The next ODI in the five-match series is on Sunday at Hambantota. AP