Aussies coast home

A brilliant display by Australia's middle order has set up a comprehensive 116-run victory over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the VB Series at Telstra Dome on Friday.

Entertaining half-centuries to Andrew Symonds and Damien Martyn, after Simon Katich laid the foundation with a solid 60, and an unbeaten 80-run partnership by Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey helped Australia to 5-318 after 50 overs.

Martyn (70 off 64 balls) and Symonds (66 off 61 balls) clubbed 106 runs off just 88 balls before Clarke (45 off 39 balls) and Hussey (34 off 30 balls) continued the punishment, guiding the hosts past 300.

Needing nearly six-and-a-half runs an over for victory, the Sri Lankans never looked in the hunt after speedster Brett Lee (2-29) claimed openers Upul Tharanga and Jehan Mubarak inside the first three overs to have the tourists reeling at 2-11.

While Mahela Jayawardene made 50 at better than a run a ball, no other Sri Lankan batsman was able to display the same flair and aggression as they made their way to 7-202 from their 50 overs.

Earlier, Martyn strode to the crease in the 13th over at 2-58, after Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting both fell for 13 to Ruchira Perera (2-45), and was caught off a Chaminda Vaas no-ball when on before being dropped by Marvan Atapattu in the 17th over.

The Test discard shared a 74-run stand with Katich until a mix up led to the opener's run out.

Martyn brought up his half-century off just 51 balls in the 32nd over in which Perera conceded 12 runs and had the dangerous Symonds, who was on 32, dropped by Kumar Sangakkara.

The Queenslander had been circumspect early but his final 58 runs, which included four towering sixes, came off just 41 deliveries as he and Martyn plundered the tourists before the Western Australian was bowled in the 39th over by Dilhara Fernando (1-60).

Next over, Symonds followed in bizarre fashion for 66 when his straight drive took a deflection off non-striker Clarke's pad and looped to Tillakaratne Dilshan at mid-wicket.

Clarke and Hussey then used a mixture of good placement and heavy hitting as the pair guided Australia to 5-318.

After Lee claimed Sri Lanka's openers, Nathan Bracken (2-11) grabbed the prized scalp of Sangakkara for 16 and Dilshan for 29, leaving the tourists 4-93 in the 28th over.

Michael Vandort missed out on his half-century, run out for 48 off 118 balls, and he was soon joined by Atapattu for nine, Katich rising high to take the catch.

Jayawardene's enterprising knock ended on 50 when he gave James Hopes (1-34) a return catch in the 45th over with the score on 176, before Russel Arnold (28 not out) and Vaas helped the tourists eke out 26 runs from the remaining overs.

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