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Sri Lanka blow away Australia

Sydney: World champions Australia conceded their highest ever total in a one-day International as they slumped to defeat by 79 runs against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

Captain Sanath Jayasuriya and Maravan Atapattu smashed centuries in a record opening stand to help the Sri Lankans pile up 343 for five before the hosts were bowled out for 264.

Jayasuriya’s slow left-arm spinners did the damage with the ball, the 33-year-old taking four for 39 to earn the Man-of-the-Match award and keep alive his side’s chances of reaching the finals.

The win was Sri Lanka’s first from four matches in the tournament, while the defeat was Australia’s first after three victories last month.

Australia lead the standings with 17 points from England on 12 and Sri Lanka, who were bowled out for just 65 by Australia A two days ago, on seven.

Sri Lanka were buoyed by the return from injury of off- spinner Muttiah Muralidharan, who took his 299th one-day International wicket on the way to figures of two for 44.

After Australia captain Ricky Ponting had won the toss, Atapattu made 101 and Jayasuriya clubbed four sixes and 12 fours in his 122. The pair added 237 runs in 34 overs, plundering an attack missing fast bowlers Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie and leg-spinner Shane Warne.

The stand was the highest by a Sri Lankan pair in one-day Internationals, beating the 226 for the third wicket by Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene against India last year.

Sri Lanka’s total was also the highest by any team in a one-day International at Sydney Cricket Ground, surpassing Australia’s 337 for seven against Pakistan in 1999-2000.

The previous highest total against Australia in a limited-overs International was 326 for three by South Africa in Port Elizabeth last March.

Jayasuriya was bowled by a Brett Lee no-ball when on two and badly dropped twice while wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist dropped Atapattu on 83 before he reached his eighth one-day centur.

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