Sri Lanka v Australia Second T20I
Friday September 9, 11:30pm
Following their thumping win the first T20I in Pallekele, Australia will look to round off their tour of Sri Lanka by securing a 2-0 series win with victory against the hosts in Colombo on Friday.
Sri Lanka were shell-shocked in Pallekele where after sending the Aussies into bat they conceded a whopping 3/263, the highest ever total in T20 international cricket. None of their bowlers were spared, perhaps besides Dhananjaya de Silva whose solitary over went for just eight, however pace bowler Kasun Rajitha – playing only his third T20I – saw his three overs disappear for 46.
The home side never looked likely to overhaul the mammoth target, although captain Dinesh Chandimal contributed a classy 58 and veteran Chamara Kapugedera landed some late blows with an explosive 43 off 25 balls. Given the magnitude of defeat, changes are likely for Sri Lanka with all-round trio Milinda Siriwardana, Dasun Shanaka and Seekkuge Prasanna all likely to come into the side.
The inconsistent Thisara Perera – who also found himself omitted from the ODI team – is most likely to make way after failing to fire with both bat and ball, while Rajitha and Sachith Pathirana could also find themselves on the periphery. Defeat here will make it five consecutive losses at home for Sri Lanka across all formats for the first time since 1994.
Australia’s comprehensive win was sparked by Glenn Maxwell’s phenomenal unbeaten 145 off 65 balls. Elevated to the opening position for the first time in international T20s, Maxwell belted 14 fours and nine sixes on his way to the second highest individual score in T20Is, behind the man he replaced Aaron Finch.
However Maxwell did not do it all himself with quick-fire efforts from David Warner (28 off 16) and Usman Khawaja (36 off 22) augmented by a ferocious 45 off just 18 balls from Travis Head who has steadily improved throughout the limited overs section of the tour.
With the ball, fast-men Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland shared the identical figures of 3-26 from four overs, while leg-spinner Adam Zampa again exhibited excellent control in his spell of 1-27. The only concern in the field for Australia was that their fifth-bowling options in Maxwell and Moises Henriques were targeted, conceding a combined 45 off four overs. Henriques has experienced a disappointing tour and may struggle to hold his spot for the last game with either Matthew Wade or John Hastings shaping as viable alternatives.
R Premadasa Stadium
The R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo has strongly favoured the side batting first who have won nine out of the past 10 T20Is at the ground, with the sole victory for the side batting second coming by the barest of margins (1 wicket). Sri Lankan opener Kusal Perera has endured a tough time here, failing to pass 20 in four T20I innings’ at the R Premadasa.
- Sri Lanka have now lost ten of their past 12 T20Is.
- Sri Lanka have not lost five consecutive international matches at home since 1994.
- Australia have won five of their past seven T20Is away from home.
- However Australia have won consecutive T20Is only twice in the past two years.
- In the six limited overs games on this tour, Sri Lanka’s first dismissal has been bowled on four occasions.
Not surprisingly Australia are heavily favoured to take out the second match and series with the home side long odds to overcome their recent run of outs in this format.
While you cannot discount Australia’s dominance, both in the opening T20I match and in the latter parts of the ODI series, their win on Tuesday was off the back of a freakish performance from Maxwell and probably owing to their margin of victory they are prohibitively short for this match.
It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for Sri Lanka with captain Chandimal continuing his strong form and the Aussies’ fifth bowling option looks like a weakness that the hosts can exploit, provided their bowlers keep up their end of the bargain.
However after losing four limited overs matches on the trot, while constantly chopping and changing their team, I cannot have sufficient confidence to take the big price about the Sri Lankans and thus will look elsewhere.
A constant theme over this entire tour has not just been Mitchell Starc taking wickets, but Mitchell Starc disturbing stumps. The tall left-armer has taken 39 wickets over all fixtures with an incredible 36% of dismissals being bowled. On the limited overs leg of this tour, Sri Lanka’s first wicket has fallen to a bowled dismissal on four out of six occasions, while over the course of the entire tour a Sri Lankan opener has been bowled seven times from 24 dismissals.
Furthermore in T20Is Sri Lanka’s first dismissal has been bowled in two out of their past three matches, while in Australia’s past seven T20Is an opposition opening batsman has been bowled five times. Finally in the last five T20Is at the R Premadasa Stadium, three openers have lost their stumps with two of those the likely Sri Lankan openers in Dilshan and Kusal Perera.
So with nothing particularly appealing about the match odds, I’ll be backing Starc and his counterparts in the bowling attack to keep it gun-barrel straight and elicit Sri Lanka’s first wicket via a bowled dismissal.
BACK – Sri Lanka First Dismissal Bowled at 3.25 or bigger for 1 unit.