The first ODI between Australia and Sri Lanka got underway under sunny skies at Pallekele. Sri Lanka went into this game with three spinners, Jeevan and Ajantha Mendis as well as Suraj Randiv. Kulasekara and Lakmal shouldered the pace bowling duties which left the batting rather thin. Australia welcomed their seasoned campaigners, Ponting, Clarke and Micheal Hussey, while David Hussey and Xavier Doherty got a game. The Aussies played to their strength, a strong seam attack.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. Their openers Dilshan and the returning Tharanga got them off to a flier, as both Lee and Bollinger were unable to stem the boundaries in the early overs. Xavier Doherty gave his side the breakthrough when he castled Tharanga for 34. Sangakkara started positively but at 76-1 in the 13th over, the collapse began. First, Dilshan was removed by David Hussey. It was the Johnson show then as he got the mainstays Jayawerdene and Sangakkara in consecutive overs, Chandimal was picked up by Bollinger, before Johnson removed Jeevan Mendis and Angelo Mathews in successive overs, to leave the hosts tottering at 117-7. Suraj Randiv and Kulasekara put up resistance as they added a valuable 60 runs in the next 15 overs. Johnson returned to dismiss Randiv and Ajantha Mendis in the same over to finish with 6-31 as Sri Lanka were bowled out in the 42nd over for 191.
In reply, the Aussies started off confidently with both Watson and Haddin looking for boundaries. Ajantha Mendis was brought on and immediately went through the defence of Brad Haddin , 59-1 in 9 overs. Watson brought up his half century and departed for 69 off 51 deliveries pummelling 6 sixes. At 81-2 in the 12th over, Sri Lanka needed to make quick inroads. The experienced hands of Ricky Ponting and Micheal Clarke worked the three spinners all over the park and had no trouble whatsoever in picking the ones and twos. A century partnership in 23 overs ended when Ponting was bowled by Randiv for 53, Clarke remained unbeaten on 53 to guide the vistors home to a comprehensive win.
Mitchell Johnson was named Man of the Match, and on this evidence, the Aussies look solid and formidable. The hosts need to pull up their socks if they are to come back in the series. It is all set to be a cracking series as the Aussies draw first blood.