PALLAKELE // The fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, playing in his 100th one-day international, took a career best six for 31 to bowl Australia to a comfortable seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international in Kandy yesterday.
Johnson who came on to bowl as the sixth bowler, took a wicket off his third ball and went on to scythe through Sri Lanka, who were dismissed for 191 in 41.1 overs.
Australia knocked the runs off with the experienced pair Ricky Ponting and captain Michael Clarke easing their side to victory with an unbroken stand of 101 for the third wicket.
Ponting was out for 53 scored off 71 balls, his 80th ODI fifty, with Australia needing nine for victory.
Clarke finished the match off with an unbeaten 53 off 78 balls, which contained only a solitary four.
Australia were given a rousing start by Shane Watson, who cracked a brilliant 69 off just 51 balls, including six sixes and five fours, before Sri Lanka broke through.
Watson reached his 24th half-century in one-dayers with a six off spinner Ajantha Mendis. He also completed 4,000 runs in one-dayers during his knock.
Sri Lanka got off to a good start after winning the toss with Upul Tharanga (34) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (29) sharing an opening partnership of 54 off 58 balls. But the late-order batsmen paid the penalty for some injudicious stroke play and Sri Lanka slid to 117 for seven.
Only an eighth-wicket stand of 60 off 91 balls between Suraj Randiv, who top scored with 41, and Nuwan Kulaskara (34) saw Sri Lanka to a respectable total.
Johnson ended Sri Lanka's resistance when he had Randiv - the home side's highest scorer caught in the deep and then bowled Mendis in his ninth over.
Brett Lee completed 350 one-day international wickets when he dismissed Kulasekara to end the Sri Lankan innings.
"This was not a 190 wicket, we did not bat well," said Sri Lanka captain Dilshan. "It was a good toss to win but our shot selection was not good."
His Australian counterpart added: "It is important that I lead from the front. It's great to have Ponting at number three with all that experience at the other end."