The score: Sri Lanka 9-257 (Athapaththu 178no, Bolton 2-18) in 50 overs lost to Australia 2-262 (Lanning 152*, Bolton 60) by eight wickets in 43.5 overs
The match in a tweet: MEGastar! Athapaththu puts the Aussie bowlers to the sword, but it's no match for Lanning, whose career-high 152no sees the Southern Stars stroll to victory
The hero: Meg Lanning's 11th ODI ton was the Meg-astar at her sublime best. Lanning got off the mark with a boundary, one of eight she stroked on her way to a half-century from 51 deliveries. The Australian skipper had spent very little time in the middle since arriving in the United Kingdom, having been rested from Australia's practice game against New Zealand before scoring 0 and 40no in the two warm-ups against South Africa and Pakistan, while she was dismissed for 12 off 15 in Monday's opener against West Indies. But it didn't show in her clinical display, as Lanning effortlessly brought up her 11th ODI century from 99 deliveries, then passing her previous highest one-day score of 135no. She finished unbeaten on 152 from 135 in a knock that featured 19 boundaries and one six, ensuring what had loomed as a difficult – and record-breaking – run chase for Australia looked more like a walk in the park. She ended the match emphatically, with the first and only six of her innings.
The support cast: Nicole Bolton's strong form this in World Cup continued as the opener scored 60 from 71 deliveries, sharing a 133-run stand with Lanning after the early departure of Beth Mooney without scoring. When Bolton department with the score 2-138, Ellyse Perry slotted into the support role perfectly, seeing out the chase alongside Lanning with an unbeaten 39. Bolton also produced an impressive display in the field. Bowling for the first time in international cricket, it took her just three balls to claim a wicket with her off-spin, and she followed up with a second to finish with 2-18. She also produced a stunning diving save to cut off a boundary
The consolation effort: Chamari Athapaththu produced one of the all-time great one-day knocks to leave Australia needing 258 runs to win in Bristol, as she single-handedly took apart the Australian bowling attack on her way to 178 not out from 143 deliveries. The Australian bowlers had no answers for the 27-year-old, whose previous knocks against Australia were 10, 0, 0, 15, 26, as she pummeled them to all parts of Bristol's County Ground in the second highest knock in Women's World Cup history, eclipsing the 173no scored by Charlotte Edwards in 1997. Bringing up her third international century in the 39th over, she then carried on with her incredible onslaught, striking another five sixes – including one enormous maximum straight back over the head of Schutt – to guide her team to 9-257 from their 50 overs.
The record chase: Australia's chase was the highest in Women's World Cup history, bettering the previous record of 244. They did it with plenty of balls to spare, suggesting there's more to come from this Australia outfit.
The other records: Where to start? Athapaththu's unbeaten 178 sent the records tumbling in Bristol. It was the third highest individual score in women's ODI cricket and the second highest at a World Cup, behind only Belinda Clark's 229no scored against Denmark in 1997. She broke a 35-year-old record for highest individual percentage of runs in an innings, scoring a remarkable 69.26 per cent of Sri Lanka's 9-257. It was the highest individual score against Australia, while her six maximums equaled the record for most in an innings. In total, 124 of her 178 runs came in boundaries, the most in a women's ODI.
The stat: The epic century from Athapaththu guided her team to 9-257 from their 50 overs, well in excess of their previous highest total against Australia, the 9-176 they scored in Dambulla last September.
The debutant: Teenage quick Belinda Vakarewa was handed ODI cap No.135 by former Australian captain Lyn Larsen before play on Thursday, coming into the XI at the expense of left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen who is sitting out the match due to a niggle. The 19-year-old rocketed into the Australian team just eight months after making her domestic debut for NSW, having played five matches for the Lend Lease Breakers in the 201617 Women's National Cricket League season. But she'll have to wait a little longer to claim a maiden international wicket, finishing with 0-22 from her five overs.
The next stop: Australia remain in Bristol, where they will take on trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Sunday. Sri Lanka's next match-up is also on Sunday, against England in nearby Taunton.
Australia XI: Bolton, Mooney, Lanning (c), Perry, Villani, Blackwell, Healy (wk), Gardner, Schutt, Beams, Vakarewa
Sri Lanka XI: Ranaweera (c), Weerakkodi (vc), Athapaththu, Siriwardena, Weerakkody, Manodara, Polgampola, Hansika, Perera, Lokusooriya, Prabodani
Women's World Cup Guide
Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.