Australia make final with a game to spare

Enjoying a spectacular view from the grandstand of Brabourne Stadium, Mitchell Starc must have been slightly disappointed that he couldn't spot his girlfriend Alyssa Healy on the field. The tall Australian paceman, who arrived early in India to acclimatise ahead of the Test series, decided to drop in at the ground on Sunday to cheer his wicket-keeper girlfriend but she had been rested for the Super Six tie against Sri Lanka.

His learning process for the upcoming Test series, nevertheless, seems to have begun earlier than expected. Starc looked on in awe as an extremely disciplined and aggressive Australian bowling line-up made the most of the early morning moisture to restrict giant-killers Sri Lanka to a paltry 131 and ultimately defeat them by nine wickets to storm into the Women's World Cup final.

Jodie Fields's side have won all five of their matches in the competition so far to ensure a spot in the title match, which will be held on February 17, with a game to spare. With their second successive defeat in the Super Six stage, Sri Lanka are now out of contention for the final and will play South Africa for the fifth-sixth-place playoff.

Winning the toss was always going to be crucial in deciding the outcome of the match, considering that the teams batting first in the day games at the Brabourne had generally struggled to put up decent totals. So it wasn't surprising that Fields decided to put Sri Lanka in without any hesitation. Her bowlers responded well as Megan Schutt, Julie Hunter and Holly Ferling picked up a wicket apiece at the start, exposing the unpredictable Sri Lankan battling line-up yet again.

Sri Lanka lost their key top order batters Yashoda Mendis (0), Chamari Atapattu (10), skipper Shashikala Siriwardene (2) and Sandamali Dolawatta (4) early in the innings. They staged a brief comeback but Australia's spin combination comprising Erin Osborne (3/9) and Lisa Sthalekar (2/26) ensured the good start given to them by the pacers didn't go waste.

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