The Australia and Sri Lanka T20 series continues on Sunday and after the world champions drew first blood in the opening game they will take full control of proceedings if they can leave the Sydney leg of the action with a second win.
Sri Lanka will be out to avoid going two down with three to play but in order to do that they have to come out on top here which will mean putting in a much better display than they did in the opening game. It all matches up to a decent contest.
I don’t think Australia would have been overly enamoured with their performance in the opening match of the series but given all the issues they have had off the field in the lead up to it I think they can be cut a little bit of slack. If the off field problems weren’t enough then the rain that hovered around Sydney and then eventually came down will have clouded things a bit more. I think they will expect to be better in this match though.
The positive for the Australians was how well they bowled in that opening game. Mitchell Starc had a bit of a bad game but the rest of the bowlers were in good order and with a fair bit of depth in their T20 bowling stock these days you would imagine that competition will keep them on their toes. They didn’t inspire with the bat in that first game but we saw in the UAE during the World Cup what they can do when they need to pull it out.
I said going into that opening match that Sri Lanka were likely to build their way into the series having not had a warm up game in what are still alien conditions. It is all well and good to put the case forward that most of their players had been playing in the Lanka Premier League recently but conditions in that and here are totally the opposite. Now that they have had a match to work conditions out it would be disappointing if they are not very competitive here.
Sri Lanka bowled well in the main in that opening match, although with Australia also expected to improve it is important that the bowlers don’t rest on their laurels here. Where Sri Lanka need to improve is with the bat where they need to establish some partnerships rather than just send players in to hit cameos. I understand the need for getting ahead of the rate with the rain closing in on Friday but they do it too often for my liking.
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Andrew McDonald hinted that changes could be made for this match as he looks to keep his squad fresh. He didn’t confirm what they would be but Kane Richardson and Jhye Richardson are awaiting their turn to feature.
Sri Lanka still have Kusal Mendis isolating with Covid-19 so unless there is another late injury or illness then they are likely to go in unchanged. If they were to change then it might come in order rather than personnel.
The stock of Wanindu Hasaranga continues to rise. He is now the leading T20 bowler in the world and since then he has become a millionaire in the IPL auction over the weekend so he must be feeling pretty good about life right now. I expect that to be shown on the field here where I think he can cover a performance line of 40.5pts, especially when you consider he totalled 73 points in the opening game here on Friday.
There might be more to come from him here as well because this is going to be a used pitch which should suit his spin bowling even better. We know Australia don’t play spin very well and we also know that Hasaranga is in fine form in international cricket at the minute with him taking 13 wickets in his last five T20I matches. He has covered this performance line in both matches against Australia and I think he can cover it again here too.
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