Sydney: Glenn Maxwell scored his first one-day international hundred and Shane Watson posted a career-reviving half-century to steer Australia to a commanding total of 376 for nine in Sunday's Cricket World Cup Pool A match against Sri Lanka.
The Australians, needing a win to avoid a likely detour back to New Zealand during the knockout stage, won the toss and batted but quickly slipped to 41-2.
Steve Smith and skipper Michael Clarke led the recovery in a 134-run third-wicket stand to lift the total to 175 before both fell within five balls.
Clarke scored a run-a-ball 68 in his first decent innings since hamstring surgery in December before he was comprehensively beaten and bowled by a perfect Lasith Malinga (2-59) yorker in the 32nd over.
Smith was out for 72 in the 33rd, skying an attempted drive off Tillakaratne Dilshan toward long-off, where Thisara Perera held a well-judged catch running toward the boundary rope.
That's when the fireworks started, with Maxwell belting 102 from 53 balls — narrowly missing a World Cup record for fastest hundred — in a 160-run stand with Watson, who was out in the penultimate over for 67 from 41 balls.
Maxwell's hundred came off 51 balls — one shy of the record that he appeared to have equaled when he ran through for a single on 99 but it was signaled as a leg-bye after a short delay.
He did have a little bit of luck on 93 when Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara chased a thick edge off Angelo Mathews' bowling but couldn't glove the catch. Maxwell scampered through for two to equal his previous best ODI score.
He finally reached triple figures by running two, then gave Watson a long hug beside the pitch.
"It's a big relief ... to get it out of the way," said Maxwell, who scored 11 half-centuries in his previous 44 ODIs. "Hopefully it's the first of many."
His innings contained 10 boundaries and four sixes before he hit a poor full-toss from Perera (2-87) to Malinga at mid-on to spark a late flurry of wickets, including three in the last seven balls.
James Faulkner was run out without scoring two balls after Maxwell's dismissal, Watson was caught off Perera's bowling trying to keep the run-rate up, Brad Haddin hit a rapid 25 before he was caught in the deep and Mitchell Starc was run out.
Sri Lanka, which has won three games since losing the tournament opener to New Zealand, hasn't beaten Australia at the World Cup since its victory in the 1996 final. Australia was coming off a World Cup-record 275-run win over Afghanistan, where it also set a tournament record total of 417-6.