The world’s top-rated Test nation Australia crashed out of the Twenty20 World Cup after losing by six wickets to Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge.
Australia, who are also world champions in the 50-over version of cricket, could not transfer their skill to the shortest form of the game and will not contest the Super 8 phase. Ahead of an Ashes Test series, the English press reacted with glee to their exit, particularly after minnows Ireland went through after an earlier victory over Bangladesh on Monday. “Even Ireland make the Super 8s but Ricky’s (Ponting) boys crash out as wallybies,” the Sun tabloid mocked. Other newspapers said the Australians would have time on their hands now ahead of the first Test against England in Cardiff on July 8 and suggested visits to visitor attractions such as the London Eye. Australia captain Ricky Ponting was quick to turn his attentions to their defense of the Ashes. “We’ve got some thinking to do about Twenty20, but then we’ve got to move on and concentrate on Test cricket,” Ponting told the Press Association. Chasing a relatively modest victory target of 160, Sri Lanka shrugged off losing Sanath Jayasuriya for 2 with Tillakaratne Dilshan smashing 53 from 32 balls while captain Kumar Sangakkara was unbeaten with 55 as they won with nearly an over to spare.
Ireland through after beating Bangladesh
Gayle blasts Australia to defeat
Earlier, Ajantha Mendis and Lasith Malinga took three wickets apiece in Australia’s faltering innings. Ponting and Shane Watson combined for their best stand of 47 with Mendis dismissing both men in quick succession to hold them up. Only a late assault by Mitchell Johnson, David Hussey and Brett Lee lifted Australia to a respectable total, but it was never enough against the free-scoring Sri Lankans. They emerge from the group with West Indies, who thumped Australia on Saturday to leave them in trouble ahead of their second group game.