Australia’s tough start to their title defence continued today, as they were pushed to the very edge against a much improved Sri-Lanka side.
The home side were overwhelming favourites to become five-time World Champions leading into the competition but suffered defeat to India in their opening game.
They were made to work again today, against a Sri-Lanka team that had beaten England leading into the tournament and will undoubtedly prove tough opposition for every team in Group A.
Similarly to their game against India, Australia bowled first and restricted Sri-Lanka to what looked like an underwhelming total.
Captain Chamari Atapattu continued her fine form scoring 50, but tight bowling from the likes of Jess Jonassen (1-23) and Elysse Perry (0-23) stopped the away side from gaining any sort of momentum.
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Nicola Carey, who replaced Annabel Sutherland in today’s side, was the pick of the bowlers for Australia, picking up two wickets for just 18 runs from her three overs.
In response Alyssa Healy could not replicate the form she showed in the opening game of the tournament, being dismissed the second ball for a duck.
Two more wickets followed shortly after as Shashikala Siriwardena picked up the prize wicket of Beth Mooney for 6 before Udeshika Prabodhani bowled Ashleigh Gardner for just two.
At this stage, Australia were 10-3 and facing an embarrassing early exit from the competition, but Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes combined to put on 95. Haynes was eventually dismissed for a well-made 60, but Perry (5 n.o) and Lanning (41 n.o) guided Australia home with three balls to spare.
Lanning said she was “relieved” to get the victory, having been nervous at one stage. Australia will likely still have to beat both Bangladesh and New Zealand to be assured of their place in the Semi-Finals, whilst Sri-Lanka are also still mathematically in contention, despite losing both of their opening games.
Australia will meet Bangladesh next on Thursday in Canberra, whilst Sri-Lanka takes on India on Saturday in Melbourne.