Sri Lanka v Australia First ODI
Sunday August 21, 7:00pm
After a humiliating whitewash defeat in the test series, Australia will be looking to bounce back in the shorter form of the game when they begin a five-match ODI series against in Sri Lanka in Colombo on Sunday.
Buoyed by their clean-sweep in the tests, Sri Lanka head into the one-day series with plenty of confidence and momentum, although there are a few personnel changes from the longer form. Australia’s chief destroyer Rangana Herath is unavailable, having retired from ODI cricket, with uncapped left-arm orthodox Amila Aponso joining Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan in a bowling attack that will again have a heavily focus on spin.
Third test centurion Kaushal Silva and opening partner Dimuth Karunaratne have also been omitted in favour of veteran Tillekaratne Dilshan and potential debutant Avisha Fernando, while a spate of all-rounders such as Danushka Gunathilaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Seekkuge Prasanna and Thisara Perera provide balance and power.
After dominant performances in the test series middle-order batsmen Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva will be hoping to stamp their mark on this series and deliver Sri Lanka’s first ODI series win over Australia since 2010.
For Australia the big news is that the enigmatic Glenn Maxwell has been dropped and with fellow all-rounder Mitchell Marsh being rested, the visitors’ middle-order will have a different look to it. Moises Henriques and Travis Head shape as the most likely beneficiaries while the inconsistent James Faulkner will be hoping to shrug off some poor recent form to cement his spot in the starting XI. Limited overs specialists Aaron Finch and George Bailey have also been drafted in to what is an otherwise familiar looking squad.
With conditions again likely to favour the slower bowlers, first-choice test spinner Nathan Lyon may operate alongside leg-spinner Adam Zampa who has taken a wicket in each of his seven ODIs, all of which have been played on foreign soil.
After an outstanding test series, Mitchell Starc will play a key role for the Aussies in his favoured format alongside fellow quicks Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile with the number one ranked side gunning for their ninth win from their past eleven ODI series’.
R Premadasa Stadium
The R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo has recently favoured the side batting second who have won five of the past seven ODIs at the ground including the last three straight. First innings totals have been relatively volatile of late too with scores ranging from 214 to 316.
- Sri Lanka have won only three of their past 12 ODIs.
- However at home Sri Lanka have won their last four ODIs.
- Australia have won eight of their past ten ODI series’.
- However away from home Australia have won only five of their last ten ODIs.
- Australia haven’t played an ODI in Sri Lanka for five years.
Despite being annihilated in the tests Australia are healthy favourites to draw first blood in this ODI series, with the hosts outsiders in what is possibly their least favoured format.
However this series seems set up in a similar fashion to the test series with the number one ranked side coming in as strong favourites against a less fancied opponent who perform appreciably better at home. There may be no Herath and the change in format should ensure that the Aussies are not quite as exposed to the same tactics that saw them completely out-gunned in the five-day matches, however there is no reason why Sri Lanka’s plucky young batsmen and wily collection of spinners can’t cause Australia more pain.
The Australian ODI outfit may barely have missed a beat in recent years, however their win percentage away from home stands at only marginally better than 50% in the last year and it is worth noting that it is five years since they played an ODI in Sri Lanka, raising similar concerns regarding the lack of experience that was clearly apparent during the test series.
Sri Lanka meanwhile have maintained the nucleus of their test side with some added experience and flexibility that should ensure they can win from any position. With a strong record at home I’m happy to gobble up some of their starting price then look to apply some caution by trading out, given that it is the first game of the series.
BACK-TO-LAY – Sri Lanka at 2.50 or bigger for 1 unit (trade out at 1.75 or better).