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Warner hits ton as Australia rout Sri Lanka

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Opener David Warner thumped a maiden Twenty20 international century as Australia kicked off their home summer with a ruthless 134-run thrashing of Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval on Sunday.

Warner’s unbeaten 100 off 56 balls fired Australia to a total of 233 for two on a sunny afternoon, before the home side’s pacemen ripped through the Sri Lankan top order as the tourists limped to 99 for nine in reply in the first of a three-game series.

Spinner Adam Zampa finished with the day’s best bowling figures of 3-14, with quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins grabbing two wickets each.

Captain Aaron Finch shrugged off an injury doubt to blast 64 before being caught slogging, while Glenn Maxwell hammered 62 from 28 balls as Australia made an early statement a year out from hosting the T20 World Cup.

“It obviously means a lot … just to contribute to the team and put us into a great position to set a platform there with Finchy up front,” said Warner, who made a stellar return in his first full international on home soil since serving a 12-month suspension for ball-tampering.

“It is a good milestone but at the end of the day we put a great total on the board and it was always going to be difficult to chase in Australia.”

Former vice captain Warner, who is banned from leadership roles in the Australia team for life after the Newlands scandal, came into the match under pressure to score runs in the wake of a dreadful Ashes with the bat in England.

He took full advantage of benign conditions and some wayward Sri Lankan bowling, smacking 10 fours and four sixes before celebrating wildly after bringing up his ton.

Lasith Malinga’s return as Sri Lanka captain was a sour one, with the veteran quick going wicketless for 37 runs from his four overs on the drop-in pitch.

The crushing defeat brings his team back to earth after they swept Pakistan 3-0 away in their recent T20 series.

“Our bowlers didn’t (have) the right length or the right line,” said Malinga.

“I think all the players played the drop-in pitch for the first time and they didn’t know (the) behaviour of the wicket.

“But still this is not an excuse. We have to adjust to those conditions.”

Australia will look to extend their lead in Brisbane on Wednesday, with the third and final match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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