Skipper Michael Clarke is determined to ensure his Australian team maintain their momentum to win the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka in game three.
Australia cruised to a crushing eight-wicket victory over the hosts on Sunday night at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota to take a 2-0 lead.
Clarke’s predecessor, Ricky Ponting, made the most of some good work by Australia’s bowlers to calmly steer Australia past their victory target of 209 with a composed unbeaten 90 that earned him man-of-the-match honours.
He put together an unbroken 107-run third wicket stand with Clarke, who backed up his unbeaten half-century in game one with 58no on Sunday to claim his fifth straight ODI win since taking over the reins from Ponting following the World Cup.
And he’s not about to let up when the two teams clash at the same venue in game three on Tuesday.
“We’ve come here to try and win every game we play whether that be one-dayers, Twenty20s or the Test matches,” Clarke told reporters.
“We’re not here to win 3-2 or to do anything I guess apart from try to win every single game we play.
“We know conditions are going to vary from place-to-place, the wicket out there was different to where we’ve just come from.
“It’s about trying to get better every game and hopefully we can keep performing the way we have been.”
While Clarke and Ponting dominated with the bat, even accounting easily for returning Sri Lanka star Lasith Malinga who finished with an expensive 1-45 off eight overs in his first match back from injury, Australia’s skipper admitted it was the bowling which laid the foundation.
Just as in last week’s opening match in Kandy, Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss and chose to bat on what looked a good wicket.
And just as in that seven-wicket loss last Wednesday, the hosts failed to bat their full 50 overs, dismissed for just 208.
Unlike the Kandy win though, where Mitchell Johnson’s career-best 6-31 led the way, this time it was a combined effort by Australia’s pace bowlers that did the trick.
Doug Bollinger was the pick of the bunch with 3-35, and two maidens, off his 10 overs but Johnson (2-34) and Brett Lee (2-50) also did well.
“What’s helped us is I think, in my opinion, Sri Lanka haven’t scored enough runs to put extra pressure on the batters,” Clarke said.
“Our bowlers deserve a lot of credit for our first two victories.”
Only Kumar Sangakkara’s patient 52 showed any real signs of determination in Sri Lanka’s innings and Dilshan conceded improvements have to be made.
The final two one-dayers will be played in Colombo on Saturday and next Monday.