AAP: Captain Michael Clarke told his Australian team they set a standard to build on with their crushing victory over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international.
Inspired by a man-of-the-match bowling display from left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson in his 100th ODI, Australia romped to a comfortable seven-wicket win over the World Cup finalists in Kandy in a bright start to their five-match series.
Johnson claimed a one-day career best 6-31 - including the key wickets of Mahela Jayawardene (3) and Kumar Sangakkara (16) - to rip through Sri Lanka’s vaunted batting line-up and help dismiss the home side for 191 inside their 50 overs.
A quickfire 69 off 51 balls by Shane Watson kept the Australians on top before Clarke (53no) and former skipper Ricky Ponting (53) put together a century stand to guide the tourists to 3-192 after 38.1 overs and victory.
But despite the strong display, Clarke said the win by itself would prove nothing and Australia still had plenty to prove on their tour of the island nation.
“We’ve just got to continue to learn, continue to get better,” Clarke said.
“I think that’s the one thing I want to make clear here today, that, yes, I’m happy with our performance but we’ve still got a long way to go and I hope that is just the start of what’s to come.
“I’m really happy with the way we won this game. I think we’ve come out and performed as we like.
“We showed we are a very good one-day team and we can adjust to different types of conditions all around the world. I just hope we can continue to play like this.
“There’s areas that we still need to improve, don’t get me wrong, but I think we’re off to a fantastic start in this series.”
Aside from the fine batting effort and Johnson’s display with ball, there was also a highlight for veteran quick Brett Lee (1-33) when he joined Glenn McGrath as the only Australian bowler to claim 350 or more one-day international wickets.
While it was all delight for Australia, the mood was different for Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The 34-year-old said his team had been their own worst enemies in the match despite Johnson’s heroics.
“Not enough runs on the board, 190 is not enough,” Dilshan told reporters.
“I think it was just bad shot selection. We gave away three wickets.
“Mitchell Johnson, he bowled really well, but we played bad shots.”
The next match in the five-match series is at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium near the southern port city of Hambantota on Sunday.
The third match will be held at the same venue on August 16 before the series wraps up with two matches in Colombo.