The ODI series between Sri Lanka and Australia progresses towards the closing stages on Tuesday when the two sides are in Colombo once again for the fourth game of five, one which offers up the first chance for the home side to seal the spoils.
Sri Lanka have come roaring back having dropped the opening game in the series and can take an unassailable 3-1 lead with a third straight win here. Australia go into this match knowing they have to win it to force a decider.
A lot of credit has to continue to go to the Sri Lankan side, who but for some rain at the wrong time in the opening game of the series could well have already won it by now. As it is they need to win another match so this is where the pressure will begin to mount on them, but they have shown in their two wins that they can win when posting a score and also when they are chasing one, and a fairly formidable one at that.
I always think that shoots confidence into any team when they know the outcome of the toss isn’t the be all and end all and when you consider that both Sri Lanka successes in this series have come without their gun all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, there is even more to like about what they are doing. They now have the right mix of youth and experience in their batting with everyone knowing and playing their roles well and they have a very exciting crop of bowlers who are going the job too.
The series began well for Australia but it has progressively got worse as it has gone along for the tourists. That comment doesn’t just apply to their performances and their results but also their injury list as well. The easy argument is that it is those injuries which have cost Australia here and to some extent there is a case to be made about that but they have still had more than enough on the field to perform much better than they have been doing.
Heading into the series the question marks were probably over whether Australia would score enough runs in these conditions but actually it is the bowlers who have come up short of the mark. The batters chased down a decent total in the opening game, albeit after rain, and then posted a perfectly competitive score in the last match but that total was overwhelmed with ease. They need to find a way of building more pressure and getting early wickets if they are to level the series.
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It doesn’t look like Wanindu Hasaranga is going to be fit to take the field for this match so Sri Lanka could go in unchanged. Danushka Gunathilaka missed the previous game but could be ready to return and if he is that could be the sole change.
Australia could be without Glenn Maxwell for this match after he looked to pull something in his leg during fielding on Sunday. Mitchell Starc is yet to play in the series but could be saved for the Test series although Josh Hazlewood might need a rest.
Even though the bet I had on Sunday won I was incredibly tempted to take Sri Lanka to win that game. I’m even more tempted now to the extent that I am actually going to back them. I mentioned in that preview that when grounds are used for multiple games that the evidence is that the scores get lower and the pitches get tougher to bat on and that is only going to suit the Sri Lankans both here and in the final ODI.
We saw at times in the previous match that the ball was turning big and that trend is only going to continue the longer this series goes on. That is immediately a negative against Australia but the injuries they are building up is even more of a concern. Sri Lanka are getting better the longer this series has gone on and with Australia potentially rotating their bowlers here to keep them fresh for the Test series this looks like a good chance for Sri Lanka to win once again.
Back Sri Lanka to beat Australia for a 3/10 stake at 2.75 with Bet365