Pre-match speculation about the possibility of Pat Cummins being dropped from Australia's World Cup lineup against Sri Lanka turned out to be unfounded and somewhat absurd.
The pace-bowling captain, Pat Cummins, delivered a pivotal performance to help secure a victory over the South Asian opponents.
While spinner Adam Zampa played a crucial role by taking four wickets in Australia's five-wicket win, it was Cummins who made the difference by breaking through the Sri Lankan opening partnership between Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera, who put on a century stand.
Cummins sent a short delivery to dismiss Nissanka for 61, with David Warner contributing a brilliant catch. Later, the Australian captain bowled out Perera for 78 with a superb delivery that extracted movement from the relatively sluggish pitch.
Cummins also showcased his fielding prowess by running out Dunith Wellalage for two as Sri Lanka was bowled out for 209, a target easily achieved by the Australian batters.
Former Australia captain Michael Clarke had created a media frenzy by suggesting that Cummins might be dropped against Sri Lanka. However, this notion was perplexing to legspinner Adam Zampa, who emphasised the unity and support within the team.
Zampa expressed his confidence in Cummins and praised his game-changing spell and energetic fielding contributions.
"We all back each other 100 per cent in this team, so I don't really know what's been said or what people are reading, but the only thing that I saw come on the WhatsApp group was the same 11 as the last game. So, yeah, there's no pressure on Pat there," Zampa told reporters.
This victory propelled Australia up the World Cup standings, lifting them from the bottom spot. Their next challenge is against Pakistan, currently in fourth place, in Bengaluru on Friday.
While opener Travis Head has been sidelined due to a broken left hand, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh filled in admirably, making a valuable contribution with a half-century against Sri Lanka. Zampa highlighted that the team's mood had been "flat" after the initial two losses but expressed optimism that they could turn the situation around.
"We get backed into a corner, guys step up, and we get on a roll. Then anything can happen. It's a World Cup, so get on a roll," Zampa stated. The upcoming clash with Pakistan holds significant importance, and a victory there would bring Australia's World Cup campaign to an even keel with two wins and two losses, significantly boosting team morale.