CricInfo Home
News Home

This month
This year
All years

Ponting triumphs as Australia beat Sri Lanka
John Yarwood - 31 January 1999

PERTH, Australia, Jan 31 (AFP) - Talented all-rounder Ricky Ponting made a triumphant return to international ranks as Australia beat Sri Lanka by 45 runs in a tri-nations tournament one-day cricket clash here Sunday.

Back in action after a three-match suspension imposed for misconduct in a Sydney nightclub, Ponting, 24, had success with the bat and ball, as well as starring in the field.

Australia made 274-7 from their 50 overs after being sent in when Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga won the toss, and then dismissed the visitors for 229.

Sri Lanka lost only nine wickets, because ace batsman Sanath Jayasuriya retired hurt early in the innings when he was struck by a vicious ball from fast bowler Brendon Julian.

Despite his retirement for injury Sri Lanka are still regarded as being all out.

Ponting made an audacious 39 with the bat, captured the prize wicket of Ranatunga, as well as brilliantly running out Marvan Atapattu and pouching an extraordinary catch to remove Hashan Tillakeratne.

The defeat of the world one-day champions means they now have no chance of qualifying for the finals of the competition, even though they have two preliminary matches remaining.

Australia's win takes them to equal top with England, each team having five wins, three more than Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's hopes of winning the crucial game virtually ended with a the injury to electrifying Jayasuriya.

Sri Lanka had reached a promising 72-1 in the 13th over when Jayasuriya, then on 50 from 49 balls, was struck a vicious blow just above the wrist on his right arm by a ball from left-arm fast bowler Brendon Julian which cannoned from a crack in the pitch.

The ball appeared to strike Jayasuriya between his glove and forearm protector.

In agonising pain, the batsman was escorted off the field and taken to hospital for X-rays.

He will be out for at least two months after the bone was found to be broken.

In the Australian innings, left-hander Michael Bevan maintained his marvellous form as he struck an unbeaten 72 from 65 balls.

Going to the wicket with Australia an uncertain 138-4 in the 29th over, Bevan stabilised the innings in his customary manner, sharing key stands of 67 with Damien Martyn (48) and 61 with Shane Lee (22).

Left-handed opener Adam Gilchrist had given Australia a lightning start, hammering 47, embellished with seven boundaries, from 45 balls.

Recalled paceman Pramodya Wickramasinghe took the honors from the bowling crease, snapping up a fine 3-48 from 10 overs.

Controversial off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, no-balled in Adelaide for throwing eight days earlier, bowled 10 overs without having any problems with umpires Terry Prue and Daryl Harper.

Muralitharan had to contend with more crowd hostility, there were loud sarcastic cheers as he bowled each ball during his opening over.

After sending down his first five overs for 13 runs, Muralitharan left the field briefly with a leg problem. Although he was able to complete his full 10-over quota, he was unable to recapture his top rhythm in the remainder of his spell.

Sri Lanka had a major setback shortly before the start when ace batsman Aravinda de Silva was forced to withdraw with a calf injury.

Copyright 1998-99 AFP. All rights reserved. All information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos), with the exception of CricInfo logos and trademarks, are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France Presse. As a consequence you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the contents of this section without prior written consent of Agence-France-Presse.