CommBank T20I Series v Sri Lanka
Mooney's heroics help Aussies prevail
Beth Mooney smashed a superb century to ensure Australia made a winning start to their T20 series against Sri Lanka
Emily Collin at North Sydney Oval
29 September 2019, 06:15 PM AEST
The result: Australia 4-217 (Mooney 113, Gardner 49, Ranasinghe 2-44) defeat Sri Lanka 7-176 (Athapaththu 113, Karunaratne 16, Wareham 2-19) by 41 runs at North Sydney Oval.
The match in a tweet: It was raining runs at North Sydney Oval! Beth Mooney was the star as the Aussies held off a spirited challenge from the Chamari Atapaththu led Sri Lankan side to claim victory in the series opener.
The Aussies win the first game of the #AUSvSL T20 series, but it wasn't without a strong Sri Lankan chase. Game two is tomorrow night, back at North Sydney Oval.SCORES: https://t.co/10xVUDPHiI pic.twitter.com/WBqjxkJYs0— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) September 29, 2019
It was Beth Mooney at her very best, the experienced opener striking a spectacular century to steer Australia to a record-breaking total in the T20I series opener against Sri Lanka.
Not limited to heroics with the bat, the centurion also pulled off a sharp direct hit run out to get the first breakthrough for Australia in the early stages of the Sri Lanka run chase.
Looking in complete control from the outset, Mooney accessed all parts of the ground to post 113 from just 61 balls.
The milestone sees the Queenslander become just the fourth woman to score multiple T20I centuries, with Meg Lanning the only fellow Australian to reach triple figures more than once.
The crowd let out a collective sigh of relief as Mooney was given not out by the third umpire on 91 following an attempted stumping, and were on their feet shortly after with the bat raise coming in the17th over.
The Beth Mooney-charged total of 4-217 is Australia’s highest T20I total on home soil, eclipsing their 2-178 against England in Canberra in 2017.
The consolation effort
The crowd at North Sydney were on their feet again as Chamari Athapaththu joyously celebrated a cracking century to set the series alight.
Insisting her side was going to “play freely” against the Australia powerhouse – Sri Lanka’s T20 captain certainly lived up to that mantra with a rollicking knock of 113 off 66.
With a fair mountain to climb, the Athapaththu-led batting unit came to the crease undeterred and full of confidence.
Looking immediately at ease in the middle, Athapaththu only grew in confidence to produce a glorious display of ball striking that included a six that skyrocketed high over bowler Delissa Kimmince’s head and onto the roof at North Sydney Oval.
Eventually falling victim to a Megan Schutt yorker in the 18th over, Athapaththu’s heroics were not quite enough to secure victory for the visitors. Rest assured, the Australian brains trust will be thinking long and hard about how to restrict the hard-hitting opener in the second T20I tomorrow night.
A century for Athapaththu! What a knock, what a celebration 👏 pic.twitter.com/Cwzdd3Jjyu— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) September 29, 2019
The Support Act
It was all airborne for Ashleigh Gardner, who was clearing the boundary with trademark aggression to keep the crowd alert and the scoreboard ticking. Gardner, promoted up to No.4 in the batting order, struck four maximums before settling for a boundary along the ground and finished on 49 from 27 deliveries.
Openers Alyssa Healy and Mooney wasted absolutely no time in putting runs on the board, racing away to 64 runs within the powerplay. Taking full advantage of a lightning-fast outfield and looking intent on scoring off every ball, the opening partnership of 72 set the tone for a high-scoring innings.
That trademark Tayla Vlaeminck heat was on full show at North Sydney Oval! Steaming in to Sri Lanka No.3 Anushka Sanjeewani, 20-year-old Vlaeminck found the edge with just her third delivery of the day. Picking up her first international wicket on home soil, Vlaeminck continued to send down a barrage with the Sri Lanka batting unit struggling to handle the Victorian’s raw pace.
The talking point
Sri Lankan pace bowler Udeshika Prabodani kept the Aussie batters on their toes, on a couple of occasions stopping short of her delivery, looking to pull off a run-out as the non-striker was backing up.
Plan executed! Meg Lanning, sick of losing coin tosses, subbed in Alyssa Healy to flip the coin to great success. The toss was won by the Australians and they quick happily strode out for a bat first at North Sydney Oval.
The next stop?
Don’t go too far now! The action continues tomorrow, with the second T20I to be played under lights at North Sydney Oval.
Australia XI: Alyssa Healy (wk), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck, Megan Schutt,
Sri Lanka XI: Chamari Attapaththu (c), Anushka Samjeewani (wk), Harshitha Madhavi, Shashikala Siriwardena, Yashoda Mendis, Nilakshi de Silva, Hansima Karunarathne, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Ama Kanchana, Udeshika Probodani, Sugandika Kumari
CommBank Series v Sri Lanka
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns (T20I only), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Heather Graham, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Sri Lanka T20I squad: Chamari Atapattu (c), Harshitha Madavi, Shashikala Siriwardena, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunaratne, Yashoda Mendis, Nilakshi De Silva, Dilani Manodara, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandhika Kumari, Inoshi Fernando, Achini Kulasooriya, Udeshika Probodhani, Ama Kanchana.
First T20I: September 29, North Sydney Oval, 2.40pm
Second T20I: September 30, North Sydney Oval, 7.10pm
Third T20I: October 2, North Sydney Oval, 10.10am
Second ODI: October 7, Allan Border Field, Brisbane, 10.10am
*All ODIs are ICC Women's Championship matches