The T20 series between Sri Lanka and Australia comes to a close on Saturday when the two sides meet for the third and final time. After the first two matches were in Colombo, we more to Pallekele for this last game.
In terms of the series there is nothing on this game because Australia have already won it but as we all know there is a T20 World Cup getting ever closer and matches before it are beginning to run out so both teams will want to get something from this game.
There is no getting away from the fact that Sri Lanka will have had higher hopes for this series than what they have delivered. Having been unable to play in front of huge home crowds for so long they will have wanted to entertain with the bat much more than they have done. It has to be said their two batting efforts so far have been very disappointing and as a result the series has gone at the earliest opportunity.
To be fair to the Sri Lankans, even though they had nowhere near enough runs on the board in the second game, they almost managed to steal victory from the jaws of defeat with a bowling performance that was good enough to win matches in different circumstances. Sri Lanka won’t want to come out of this series without a win to their name so they will be motivated to win here, especially as there is an ODI series which follows.
I don’t think we saw the best of Australia with the bat in that second game but there are reasons for that. The first reason would be that because they didn’t have a warm up ahead of the series beginning and their openers got the game won in the first game, anyone outside their top two were batting in these conditions for the first time on this tour. The other reason is that these are conditions which Australia historically struggle in.
The positive for Australia is that in both matches so far they have been far too good for Sri Lanka with the ball. That in itself might be a surprise to some because these aren’t necessarily conditions in which they would thrive on with the ball, and they are without a couple of their best bowlers. You would imagine those batters who were at the crease for the first time in the last game will come on for the run so the world champions could be very tough to beat here.
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You would imagine Sri Lanka will do something about their batting in this match and play the extra batter and use the bowling resources of Dasun Shanaka more. That could mean that Nuwanidu Fernando gets a start.
Australia haven’t given any indications that they are going to make a host of changes with the series won but we do know they will be without Mitchell Starc who is still nursing that hand injury he picked up in game one. Josh Inglis is waiting if they want to change their batting.
There was a clearer intent early on in their batting innings in the second match that Sri Lanka were looking to put the pressure back onto the Australia bowlers and while it didn’t really work out in Colombo, a similar intent here in Pallekele could at least lead to them scoring more runs on a pitch which is always much higher scoring than the one the series has been played on so far. That leads me to think that over 9.5 sixes could be a tough on the low side here.
Australia have six hitters all the way down and with no competitive pressure on this match I expect them to showcase their skills a lot more here. Their ego doesn’t allow spinners to bowl to them and with an ODI series on the horizon this is a chance for the Aussie batters to put a little fear into the Sri Lanka spinners ahead of that. This is a much higher scoring ground with a good batting pitch so this sixes line isn’t that high with no competitive strain on the game. I’ll take the over.
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