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Current World Cup champions Australia meet Sri Lanka to begin the Women's component of the World Cup. Although the Sri Lankan Men have defeated Australia once in a Test Match, their Women's team is a bit of an unknown quantity. This may not be the game, but the Sri Lankan Women may have a few surprises in store for us.

Result (Teams mentioned in the order they batted):

Skin 1
Skin 2
Skin 3
Skin 4
Sri Lanka

Umpire: Robbie Bennett (NZ)

An unknown quantity for most of us, the Sri Lankan Women approached this their first game with enthusiasm. Nerves, if present, were not noticeable, but would certainly have been excused considering the reputation of their opponents.

The first pair for Sri Lanka (Hiruka Fernando and Hiroshi Abeysinghe) batted fairly well, but their running was a little tentative, and all the wickets they lost were runouts (4 in total). Although there were some great shots played, too many balls (12) were not scored from, resulting in a partnership of 10 runs.

Although the second pair of Eshani Kaushalya and Randika Galhenege had 18 balls from which they did not score, they only lost one wicket, allowing them to score a team-high of 19 runs. Again, some great shots were played, but allowing the equivalent of almost 2.5 overs to be bowled with scoring is a luxury not recommended at this level.

Both the 3rd and 4th pairs lost 4 wickets each and didn't score off 10 and 12 balls respectively, resulting in partnerships of 11 and 6, for a team total of 46. As a first-up effort against the current World Cup holders, the Sri Lankan batting looked much more than just competent, and with work on their calls and running they would be expected to improve markedly.

The best bowling for Australia came from the West Australian spinner, Diane Brown (-11, with 2 caught and 1 bowled). The best over for the Sri Lankan batters was the 11 runs Eshani Kaushalya and Randika Galhenege took from Renee Lee's first over, and the 11 runs Vanessa De Silva and Sandamali Dolawatte took from Karina Bird's second.

Julie Burnett and Renee Lee gave the Australians a solid 37 run opening partnership, and set the scene for an onslaught--Karina Bird and Donna Dalby plundered 63 runs from their 4 overs, followed by Diane Brown and Sam Dillon scoring 62.
The last pair of Wendy Clarke and April Hames (Western Australia's other represenative in this team) then scored a comparatively sedate 51, and Australia had scored a massive 213 runs.

Best over for the Australians was the 11th (bowled by Randika Galhenege), from which Brown and Dillon took 22 runs, helped by a 7 off the last ball from Brown's bat. Best over from the Sri Lankans was the very first, bowled by Hiruka Fernando, which cost 7 runs.

The Sri Lankans allowed 55 balls to pass without scoring, whereas the Australians allowed only 24. Australia lost no wickets. Sri Lanka lost 13.

Despite Australia's massive score, Sri Lanka showed many positive qualities. They are a very enthusiastic group, probably the noisiest of all the teams when fielding as they encourage and support each other. They are skilled fielders, even though they occassionally looked like they weren't attacking the ball as aggressively as they should in the field. And they can bat very well, with some strong indications of outdoor experience. If they can sort out their calls when batting, and perhaps add a bit more variety to individual overs, they will improve markedly. And we don't believe any team can confidently assume a game against Sri Lanka will be an easy victory.



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