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Australia ease past Sri Lanka by five wickets to fire World Cup campaign

Adam Zampa and Josh Inglis have breathed life into Australia’s ailing World Cup campaign by starring roles with the ball and the bat respectively in a five-wicket defeat of Sri Lanka.

The win in Lucknow gives Australia some room to move after they dropped their first two matches at the tournament and risked crashing out of contention for the knockout stage with another loss.

Things didn’t always come easily for Australia, who lost the toss and struggled to contain Kusal Perera (78) and Pathum Nissanka (61) during a 125-run opening partnership.

Chasing 210 after bowling Sri Lanka out, Australia’s batting issues threatened to resurface when David Warner (11) and Steve Smith (0) fell in the same Dilshan Madushanka over.

But ultimately, the 9-52 Sri Lankan collapse triggered by Zampa (4-47) and Pat Cummins (2-32), and Inglis’ career-best ODI knock (58 runs from 59 balls) were enough to separate the sides.

Pat Cummins bowling Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera for 78 proved a key wicket for Australia.

Once victory was in their grasp Australia, seeking to boost their net run rate, accelerated to reach the target in the 36th over.

Sri Lanka have now dropped their first three matches of the tournament and face an uphill battle to make it past the pool stage.

Australia’s Adam Zampa celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Maheesh Theekshana.Australia’s Adam Zampa celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Maheesh Theekshana. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

Makeshift opening batter Mitch Marsh (52) recaptured his pre-World Cup form on a proactive start to Australia’s innings at the crease.

Mitchell Marsh returned to form in a forceful half-century as Australia chased down Sri Lanka’s 209.

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He was resolute as Warner and Smith both went lbw, the former furious at falling victim to an inconclusive DRS review that deferred to the umpire’s on-field call of out.

Inglis began a mature innings after Marsh was run out by Chamika Karunaratne, recognising patience would win the day for Australia given the low target.

He continued to stake his claim to remain in the XI ahead of usual wicketkeeper Alex Carey but took a back seat when Glenn Maxwell (31 runs from 21 balls) came on for a furious cameo late.

By the time Inglis was caught at backward point from Dunith Wellalage’s bowling, Australia needed only 18 runs for victory.

Earlier, Cummins triggered a collapse by taking the breakthrough wicket of Nissanka, one of two Sri Lankan batters caught in Warner’s fielding masterclass. He then sent Perera packing with a length ball that careered into off-stump to make it 157-2.

The captain later punished Dunith Wellalage for attempting to sneak a single in by hitting the stumps directly from mid off.

Australia exploited the lack of depth in Sri Lanka’s batting order, with Charith Asalanka (25) the only man outside the openers to reach double figures.

Zampa had been out of form and under pressure as Australia’s only front-line spinner at the tournament but finished the day with his best figures in an ODI World Cup match.

The leg-spinner dispatched Sri Lanka’s two most in-form batters, Kusal Mendis (9) and Sadeera Samarawickrama (8), in the space of two balls.

David Warner took a spectacular catch in the deep to dismiss Kusal Medis off Adam Zampa.

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Warner took a large chunk out of the Lucknow outfield as he dived to dismiss Mendis at deep mid-wicket from Zampa’s bowling, before Sri Lanka disputed Zampa’s lbw shout on Samarawickrama in vain.

Some wild wind in Lucknow blew banners down from the roof of the stadium and into the crowd, delaying the start of the second innings as ground officials secured the area.

On three occasions early on, Mitchell Starc pulled out of his run-up to warn Perera not to step out of his crease, though the Mankad threats came to nothing.