Sri Lanka v Australia Fourth ODI
Wednesday August 31, 8:00pm
Having taken a 2-1 lead on Sunday, Australia will be looking to wrap up their five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka with another victory in Dambulla on Wednesday.
Batting first for the third consecutive match, Sri Lanka failed to build any substantial partnerships and their innings of 226 was almost entirely propped up by an outstanding 102 from Dinesh Chandimal. In his farewell appearance Tillekaratane Dilshan also contributed a punchy 42, however no other batsman managed to pass 20 in what was a disappointing display. However the hosts did put up more of a fight in the field, pushing the Aussies all the way before the visitors prevailed with only two wickets to spare.
Once again their spinners caused the most problems with Amila Aponso, Dilruwan Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna and Dhananjaya de Silva taking a combined 6/149 off 33 overs. However while captain Angelo Mathews (2-30) was effective with the new ball, Sri Lanka may consider some reinforcements for the pace attack after Thisara Perera conceded 18 off his two overs.
Youngster Avisha Fernando looks the most likely replacement for Dilshan, although the home side also have the option of pushing Kusal Perera back to the top of the order and bringing in a bowler with teenage quick Lahiru Kumara added to the extended squad for the remainder of the series. Defeat for Sri Lanka will make it seven defeats in their past ten ODI series’, although they have won their past three series’ at home.
Victory for Australia on Wednesday was achieved off the back of a disciplined effort with the ball as only the returning Josh Hazlewood conceded more than five runs an over. Adam Zampa continued his excellent form, picking up 3/38 from his ten overs, while John Hastings proved to be an astute addition to the starting XI with 2/41 including some tight bowling at the death.
The Aussies’ chase was far from straightforward, however a timely innings of 70 from George Bailey guided the visitors home with support from Matthew Wade (42 off 46) and Travis Head (36 off 48). Opener Aaron Finch also got the Australians on the front foot with a run-a-ball 30, picking up the slack of his partner David Warner who continues to flatter to deceive on this tour.
Zampa backed up his efforts with the ball by hitting the winning runs after some nervy moments from the lower-order gave Sri Lanka a sniff late in the piece. However Australia now hold the advantage and are on the brink of their seventh series win in Asia from their last eight, although they will have to secure the series without Shaun Marsh who has suffered a broken finger and will be replaced by Usman Khawaja.
Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium
The Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium pitch played to expectations on Wednesday with conditions not particularly comfortable for batting. While it remains to be seen whether the same surface will be used I would expect similar conditions for this match with spinners – who have now taken 15 of the last 30 wickets to fall at the ground – again set to play a significant part in proceedings.
- Sri Lanka have failed to pass 250 in four of their past six ODI innings’.
- However in other two they have exceeded 280.
- When bowling first Sri Lanka have conceded less than 220 in five of their past eight ODIs at home.
- When batting second Australia have been bowled out for less than 220 in four of their past nine ODIs.
- When bowling first Australia have conceded less than 250 in five of their past seven ODIs.
The world champions are considered marginal favourites to claim the series in Dambulla with the hosts slight underdogs.
While Australia hold the advantage they have not been overly convincing and with Shaun Marsh out injured they are now down to their third-choice number three on top of the additional absence of key all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. Their most seasoned batsman – and stand-in skipper – is horribly out of form, and while their bowling unit appears to progressing nicely they are under a lot of pressure to restrict Sri Lanka to a score that is within reach of their inconsistent batting unit.
Sri Lanka’s batsmen have also had their struggles, however they remain a volatile side capable of hitting the occasional high – such as their 288 in Colombo – in amongst the lows. Moreover their spinners have revelled in the helpful conditions, causing the Australian middle and lower order an enormous amount of trouble and not allowing them to dictate terms despite their typically aggressive nature.
In general I would advise taking on both sides when they are batting, however given the slight but noticeable disparity in starting prices between the sides I’m advising an opening back of the hosts, before looking to lay off as while Australia have looked uncomfortable in the conditions their side contains enough match-winners to be wary of.
BACK-TO-LAY Sri Lanka at 2.14 or bigger for 2 units (trade out at 1.70 or better).