Australia completed their World Cup preparations with their third practice match win on the trot on the back of an assured 89 from Usman Khawaja in Southampton yesterday.
Back in his favoured opening role, Khawaja recovered from a blow to the knee that earlier saw him limp from the field as the Aussies cruised to a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka at The Ageas Bowl.
The left-hander did his chances of securing his spot for Australia’s World Cup opener against Afghanistan on Saturday no harm, anchoring the chase and rotating the strike expertly as he scored just three boundaries in his 105-ball knock.
His late exit, given out stumped after a lengthy review by third umpire S Ravi, was somewhat contentious, though Australia, needing just 22 more to win from the last 10 overs, had all but sealed the match by that point.
Incumbent ODI No.3 Shaun Marsh threw away a chance to push his own case for selection when he was caught on the long-on boundary following an 80-run stand with Khawaja.
Allrounders Glenn Maxwell (34 off 46) and Marcus Stoinis (36 off 36) also failed to go on with starts, with both caught on the boundary as well.
Opener David Warner sat out the match as a precaution due to leg soreness, while Steve Smith didn’t bat having scored four consecutive totals above 75 in the lead-in to Australia’s final Cup tune-up.
Sri Lanka, missing recently deposed captain Lasith Malinga, reached 239 for eight but it was never likely to be enough as Australia feasted on some ordinary bowling to run down the target in the 45th over.
Alex Carey (14 not out) and Pat Cummins (9) steered the Aussies home.
Pat Cummins was Australia’s most economical bowler, collecting one wicket for 23 from eight overs, while in-form man Smith, fresh off a century against England, continued his strong start to the tour in claiming a sharp return catch to remove dangerman Angelo Mathews for 17.
Scores In Brief
Sri Lanka: 239 for 8 in 50 overs (Thirimanne 56, Silva 43; Zampa 2-39, Smith 1-9)
Australia: 241 for 5 in 44.5 overs (Khawaja 89, Maxwell 36; Vandersay 2-51, Silva 1-17)
Result: Australia won by 5 wickets.