| Ricky Ponting after completing his century in Centurion Friday. (AFP)
Centurion: Australia stormed into the World Cup semi-finals on Friday as Ricky Ponting and Brett Lee swept Sri Lanka regally aside on Friday.
Ponting (114) hammered his 12th one-day century to set the tone during Australia’s 319 for five in their opening Super Six match.
Lee then laid waste to the Sri Lankan top order, sending Sanath Jayasuriya to hospital in the process as the world champions won by 96 runs.
Sri Lanka at least ended the day with two consolations, Aravinda de Silva hitting a defiant 94-ball 92 while Jayasuriya’s X-Ray revealed bad bruising and a chipped thumb bone rather than the suspected broken forearm. Sri Lanka ended on 223 off 47.4 overs.
According to team physio Alex Kontouri, it will take at least 48 hours before deciding whether Jayasuriya can play the next game. “But he’s not out of the tournament.”
But Australia’s victory, their 13th one-day success in a row and against the 1996 champions, confirmed their all-encompassing dominance in the tournament.
They had reached the second round with a maximum 12 points after the first round and now, with 16 points, are guaranteed a place in the last four. At least two teams — Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe — cannot match that points total.
Earlier Adam Gilchrist had set Australia on their way with an 88-ball 99 before becoming the 13th player in one-day Internationals to fall one short of a century.
Australia scored at six an over throughout their innings, completely dominating the opposition bowlers.
Sri Lanka, however, did not help themselves. Wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara somehow missed the wicket trying to stump Ponting on 16, then missed the bails again as his gloves went over the stumps trying to run the Aussie skipper out on 35.
Sri Lanka were forced to try seven bowlers by the 25th over.
Ponting lofted Muralitharan for six over long-on, then reached his century in the 43rd over off 96 deliveries. In reply, Jayasuriya was hit after making a single from five balls and the reply soon unravelled.
Maravan Atapattu hit two boundaries off Lee in the 10th over but was then caught and bowled for 16 to make it 42 for one and Mahela Jayawardene was then caught for a three-ball duck. Hashan Tillekeratne was then bowled by Glenn McGrath and Arnold, on one, fell leg-before to Lee. At 48 for four there was no way back. (Reuters)