The 2013 ICL Trophy finals day kicked off with the Sri Lankan Ladies side and Australian Extreme Ladies side doing battle in the third and final match of their three-Test Series.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat with the Australians looking to build on the form they have shown throughout their previous two matches to take a clean sweep of the series.
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The Extreme Ladies started the match on the front foot with the Aussies keeping the Sri Lankan first pair to zero, and continued their tight bowling and smart fielding to reduce the second pair to – 23.
After eight overs the Sri Lankan team had slumped to -23 with Briony Polkinghorne and Ash Doble both claiming three wickets each in their opening overs to set the standard for the remaining eight overs.
Polkinghorne has also been the pick of the fielders with four run outs to go with her bowling leading Australia to a very commanding position.
Some solid batting from the third pair saw Sri Lanka begin to claw their way back from a huge deficit after their skin of 11.
Taneale Peschel was exceptional in the field, taking a one handed diving catch. The final Sri Lankan pair also added a respectable 13, taking the innings total to one run.
The Australians were relentless in chasing the runs scoring frequently and never faltering, as they have done for many years proving once more why they’re the reigning World Champions.
Doble and Wendy Kemp opened up the Australian Innings, showcasing some class running between the wickets and teamwork scoring 45 for the first skin.
Coming in for the second pair saw Jude Coleman and Leslee Turner carry the score to 82 and continue on the path to victory.
The third and fourth skins continued in much the same way, with Australia running out winners and securing a clean sweep in the three-Test series.
Next up it was the Men’s final which promised to be a tight and tense game, and it delivered.
Australia won the toss and elected to bowl, sending the Sri Lankans in to bat and it paid immediate dividends with the openers getting off to a shocking start of negative 15 runs for the first four overs.
As is the Sri Lankan way, they never once gave in – managing to post a respectable 20 runs after their 16 overs in what was a very low scoring and very tense affair.
Australian veterans Vinesh Bennett and Robert Fitzgerald were sent in to try and put Australia in a commanding position to start the Australian Innings, but things were not going according to plan when the Aussie Openers were negative 15.
The Aussies were not only up against the might of the Sri Lankan bowlers but also the large Sri Lankan crowd that were right behind the local team.
Bennett and Fitzgerald wrestled control back to the Aussies, ending up with eight runs after four overs.
The next pair to arrive at the crease were Lance MacDougall and Rhys Dearness who managed to score 18 runs for the skin, although again – the Sri Lankans managed to take wickets at crucial moments, and refused to ever give in.
Nick DeGrys and David Hankin batted admirably and further pushed Australia’s chances towards victory despite a couple of mishaps running between the wickets.
At the 12 over mark, Australian captain and Andrew Roiko strode to the crease, with one goal - to finish off the good work laid by their teammates – and they did just that.
The Aussie innings finished on 71 runs, with the score probably not being a fair reflection on how hard the World Champions had to work to notch up that victory.
In reality the game was still very much in the balance right up until the 14th over.
Sri Lanka fielded brilliantly and took every chance that came their way, and have proved to the Indoor Cricketing world just how good they will be if they can manage to stick with the same side in the lead up to next year's World Cup.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 06 October, 2013 9:15AM AEST