PALLEKELE: Mitchell Johnson grabbed a career-best 6-31 and Shane Watson smashed a brisk 69 to guide Australia to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first One-Day International (ODI).
Opener Watson cracked six sixes and five fours as Australia achieved the 192-run target with more than 11 overs to spare.
Johnson played a key role in restricting Sri Lanka to a modest total, marking his 100th ODI with disciplined bowling to bag his third five-wicket haul.
Watson then kept pressure on Sri Lanka, reaching his 24th ODI half-century with a six off spinner Ajantha Mendis.
He dominated a 59-run stand with Brad Haddin (12) before falling in the 12th over and also completed 4,000 ODI runs.
Captain Michael Clarke (53*) added 101 for the third wicket with Ricky Ponting (53) to steer his team home.
Australia bowler Brett Lee earlier became the seventh bowler to take 350 wickets in ODIs when he dismissed Nuwan Kulasekara (34).
Sri Lanka were struggling at 117 for seven following Johnson’s four-wicket burst before Suraj Randiv and Kulasekara put on 60 for the eighth wicket.
Johnson sent back Randiv and then bowled Ajantha Mendis in his ninth over.
Sri Lanka got off to a solid start when Upul Tharanga (34) and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (29) put on 54 for the opening wicket.
Tharanga, returning to the side after serving a three-month ban, was bowled by left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty.
Johnson struck in his first over when he had Mahela Jayawardene caught behind and then had Kumar Sangakkara caught. He also accounted for Jeevan Mendis and Angelo Mathews.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.