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Cricket World Cup: Five things we learnt from Australia v Sri Lanka

Australia began their World Cup campaign with defeats to tournament hosts India and South Africa, but responded when it was needed by seeing off Sri Lanka by five wickets in Lucknow.

The Islanders put on 125 for their opening wicket before capitulating to 209 all out, with leg-spinner Adam Zampa taking 4-47, while Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc claimed two wickets apiece.

The Baggy Greens then eased home with more than 14 overs to spare, with Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis both registering half-centuries.

Next up is a clash with Pakistan in Bengaluru on Friday and here we take a look at the five take-aways from the success against Sri Lanka, with Australia now 1.90 to make the semi-finals.

WhatAustralia v Pakistan
WhereM Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
When18:30 (AEST) Friday 20th October 2023
How to watchFoxtel, Kayo & 9Now
OddsAustralia 1.57, Pakistan 2.37

Zampa rediscovers his mojo

Leggie Zampa had struggled in the opening two matches of the tournament, taking 1-123 across the two losses, but looked back to something like his best against the Islanders, despite confirming that he had been managing back spasms in recent days.

He said after the key victory: "I've had days where I've felt better and bowled better, I know I'm not at my best, but it's nice to be on this end of the result."

Zampa trapped three of his four victims lbw, while he had Kusal Mendis caught by David Warner for just nine - with Mendis having blasted 198 runs from 114 balls faced in his first two innings at the World Cup.

Australia will now hope that Zampa - 4.33 to be Team - Top Bowler against Pakistan - can both avoid further back problems and maintain the form which makes him such an important part of their 50-over plans.

Maxwell proving his worth

Added responsibility was placed on the shoulders of Glenn Maxwell when left-arm spinner Ashton Agar was ruled out of the tournament through injury and the all-rounder has responded well.

With his part-time off-spin Maxwell has so far proved to be an effective brake on the opposition scoring, going for just 3.74 runs an over across more than 27 overs bowled in total, while also taking three wickets.

If he and Zampa can maintain their form with the ball, Australia have a reliable spin partnership which will be a necessity if they want to reach the latter stages of the tournament.

With the bat Maxwell made 15 and 3 in his first two knocks, but showed some form against Sri Lanka as he belted 31 not out from just 20 deliveries and his hard-hitting approach will also be needed if more success is to come for Australia.

Inglis call pays off

Australia decided to swap Alex Carey for Josh Inglis behind the stumps following their opening defeat to India and the latter made the most of the opportunity to impress against the Islanders.

Having made just five in the loss to the Proteas, Inglis made an ODI best of 58 against Sri Lanka, with his well-paced innings helping the Baggy Greens recover from a tricky position at 81-3.

He added 77 for the fourth wicket with Marnus Labuschagne and when Inglis was eventually dismissed, just 18 runs were required to complete the victory.

Inglis can be backed at 7.50 to be Team - Top Batter against Pakistan.

Lefties appear to be a problem

Australia would seem to have an issue when facing left-armers, both spinners and seamers, having lost 14 wickets to southpaws across their opening three matches.

Those 14 wickets come from a total of 25 dismissals, with South Africa’s Marco Jansen and Sri Lanka’s Dilshan Madushanka both showing up some problems against the swinging ball.

That potential weak spot could come into focus against Pakistan, who have one of the best left-arm fast bowlers in the world among their ranks, Shaheen Shah Afridi.

He took out both India openers as Pakistan lost last time out and has taken eight wickets in three previous one-day internationals against Australia, while he can be backed at 11.00 to be Player of the Match on Friday.

New-ball improvement needed

Josh Hazlewood and Starc gave Australia a flying start with the ball against India, even if the match was eventually lost by six wickets, but both South Africa and Sri Lanka have put on century partnerships for their opening wickets since.

Against the Islanders the Baggy Greens were able to recover by taking all ten wickets for just 84, but the Proteas cashed in to total 311-7 and see off Australia by a massive 134-run margin.

Early wickets will be key against the leading sides still to come and Starc and Hazlewood will hope to get the ball rolling on Friday, with Pakistan 1.90 to have the Highest Opening Partnership in the match.

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