Sri Lanka v Australia Fifth ODI
Sunday September 4, 7:00pm AEST
After securing the series in Dambulla, Australia head to Pallekele where they will hope to round off a 4-1 series scoreline against Sri Lanka with victory in the fifth and final ODI on Sunday.
Sri Lanka let themselves down with another disappointing effort with the bat on Wednesday as five of their top seven failed to make it to double-figures. However on the bright side, Dhananjaya de Silva made the most of his promotion to the top of the order with an impressive 76 off 87 balls, while captain Angelo Mathews battled through a calf injury to compile a fighting 40 off 71 balls after having to retire hurt on 28.
It was only due to some late hitting from Mathews and the tail that elevated the hosts past 200, however their eventual total of 212 failed to trouble the Australians who knocked off the target with a whopping 19 overs to spare.
While the visitors cruised to victory, Sri Lanka’s defence was briefly ignited by three wickets in five balls to all-rounder Sachith Pathirana who also contributed a handy 24 with the bat and should retain his place in the side for the dead-rubber. Regular changes in personnel have probably not helped Sri Lanka’s chances in this series with the home side using an incredible 16 players over the four matches.
However at least one more change seems likely for the final match of the series with Mathews unlikely to shake off his calf complaint in time which could result in a recall for Danushka Gunathilaka with Dinesh Chandimal taking over the captaincy duties.
Their victory on Wednesday was undoubtedly Australia’s most convincing performance of the entire tour and goes some way to eroding the memories of their whitewash defeat in the test series. John Hastings claimed the eighth-best ODI figures by an Australian with a remarkable 6/45, including the two key pillars of Sri Lanka’s innings in de Silva and Mathews.
However, it was another well-rounded performance from the Australian bowling attack with all bar one of their bowlers conceding no more than four-and-a-half runs an over.
During the chase Aaron Finch got the world champions off to a belligerent start, blasting 55 off 19 balls and in the process claiming the equal-fastest half-century by an Australian in ODI cricket. However, it was then left to George Bailey (90 off 85) and the ever-improving Travis Head (40 off 60) to guide the Aussies home comfortably.
Usman Khawaja failed to make the most of his recall, continuing his lean form with a second-ball duck after being dismissed LBW for the third time on this tour. Now that they have wrapped up the series Australia may choose to experiment with their starting XI in Pallekele with Mitchell Starc due a rest which could allow Nathan Lyon to provide another slow-bowling option.
Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium appears to be a bit friendlier for batsmen with the average first innings total over the last two years coming in at 271, although it’s worth noting that every side to bat first has lost at least seven wickets, with two sides bowled out before the completion of their 50 overs. Sri Lankan ‘keeper Kusal Perera has enjoyed his time at Pallekele with three fifties in five innings, including a whirlwind 68 off 25 balls against Pakistan last year.
- Sri Lanka have won four of their past five dead-rubbers in ODIs.
- Six of Sri Lanka’s past seven ODIs have seen no more than five sixes, including their last five straight.
- Australia have also won four of their past five dead-rubbers in ODIs.
- Six of Australia’s past ten ODIs have seen no more than five sixes, including their last four straight.
- Four of the past six ODIs at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium have seen no more than five sixes.
After an assured performance in Dambulla, Australia retain favouritism heading into the final game with the home side again considered outsiders.
This match looks a tricky one from a match odds perspective, first of all because the composition of both sides could vary quite widely from what we have seen in previous games with key players potentially being rested.
The fact it is a dead-rubber also throws in another element and given both teams have a strong recent record when there is less to play for, there is no reason to oppose either in this particular situation.
Therefore I will give the match odds a swerve and search elsewhere for some value. Throughout this series we have seen ball largely dominate bat with runs hard to come by and only one individual century.
Another by-product has been that batsmen have struggled to reach – and particularly clear – the boundary, with only 15 sixes over the course of the first four games and 40% of those have come from the same batsman (Aaron Finch).
No more than five sixes have been hit in any match so far in this series and that continues a recent trend for both these sides who have played in a high proportion of matches low on maximums. Recent data at the ground also suggests that while making runs may be slightly easier here than in Colombo or Dambulla, clearing the ropes is equally as difficult.
With the absence of Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh and now other prolific six-hitters such as Steve Smith, Tillekaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews, I’m expecting the dearth of big hits to continue and will therefore be backing 5 and under total sixes to round off this series.
BACK – 5 and under sixes at 1.80 or better for 1 unit.