Australia have flexed in the face of a spirited challenge from Sri Lanka to secure a 157-run victory in the opening Commonwealth Bank ODI at Allan Border Field.
The convincing win is Australia’s 16th straight victory recorded in the 50-over format.
Defending 282 after a fightback from the Sri Lankan bowlers saw a flurry of wickets fall in the back-half of the first innings, Tayla Vlaeminck and Ashleigh Gardner produced superb spells to ensure the target was kept well out of reach.
Australian spinners Gardner, Georgia Wareham and Jess Jonassen prevented the visitors from settling on a warm, gusty day in Brisbane.
Half-centuries to Meg Lanning (73 off 66 balls), Rachael Haynes (56 off 76) and Beth Mooney (66 off 68) earlier in the day ensured Australia posted a solid total of 8-281.
As is often the case, Ellyse Perry (1-13 off three overs) delivered the first breakthrough for the Australians, sending down a devastating yorker to rattle the off stump of opener Anushka Sanjeewani for a golden duck in the very first over.
One wicket down and with a mountain to climb, the pressure was firmly back on the visiting side.
Vlaeminck took full advantage, threatening with her trademark pace and, after a fiery seventh over, was rewarded with the wicket of Harshitha Madavi for 22.
Once again, the hopes of the Sri Lankans fell squarely on the shoulders of star batter Chamari Athapathuthu, who has handed the captaincy reins over to Sashikala Siriwardena for the one-dayers.
With the run-rate far short of what was required, Athapaththu, worn down by the accuracy of the Australian bowlers, attempted a reverse sweep off Jess Jonassen.
The execution was far from perfect and Beth Mooney completed the catch at backward point to remove the danger player, leaving the Sri Lankans at 3-46 after 12 overs.
Jonassen picked up 2-17 from her eight overs, leaving her three victims shy of 100 career ODI wickets, while Gardner was equally effective with the ball.
The allrounder came back into the XI after sitting out the most recent T20I against Sri Lanka with a hamstring niggle to finish her nine overs 2-9 at an astounding economy rate of 1.00.
Vlaeminck collected 2-14 from her 7.3 overs, however the young quick was unlucky not to add two more wickets to her haul.
A rare drop from Alyssa Healy behind the stumps was the first chance to be missed before Vlaeminck then lost her footing to see a caught and bowled opportunity go begging shortly after.
Gardner and Vlaeminck again combined to clean up the Sri Lankan tail inside 42 overs.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Lanning and Haynes got Australia off to a fast start, ticking the total past 100 in the 18th over.
But with Sri Lankan spin proving effective against the Australian batters, both found themselves back in the dugout just after the halfway mark of the innings.
Mooney’s knock of 66 from 68 deliveries was instrumental in pushing the total along as wickets continued to fall around her.
Siriwardena brought herself on in the 20th over – and from that point on, the Australians were visibly less comfortable at the crease.
An attempted Lanning sweep off Oshadhi Ranasinghe was top-edged to remove the skipper for 73 in the 25th over. The very next over, Haynes followed Lanning back, edging behind off Siriwardena for 56.
After Perry was run out for 19 in the 35th over, Mooney was able to rise to the occasion, replicating the form that saw her reach triple figures earlier in the week.
The crowd at Allan Border Field were kept on their toes, holding their breath as an extended deliberation from the third umpire zeroed in on a catch taken by Udeshika Probadani to dismiss Gardner for seven.
There were plenty of cheers for tail-enders Nicola Carey and Georgia Wareham who produced some late-innings fireworks to finish on 19 runs apiece.
Siriwardena completed her 10 overs with figures of 1-44, while Probadani took 2-46 from her nine overs.
Australia Women 281/8 in 50 overs (Meg Lanning 73, Beth Mooney 66, Rachael Haynes 56, Georgia Wareham 19 n.o, Nicola Carey 19, Udeshika Ranasinghe 2-67, Udeshika Prabodhani 2-46)
Sri Lanka Women 124 all out in 41.3 overs (Shashikala Siriwardena 30, Harshitha Madavi 22, Hansima Karunaratne 17, Dilani Surangika 14, Chamari Atapattu 13, Ashleigh Gardner 2-9, Tayla Vlaeminck 2-14, Jess Jonassen 2-17, Alexandra Perry 1-13, Georgia Warham 1-36)