Following an utterly dominant – and somewhat surprising – display in the three-match Test series, Sri Lanka will need to refocus their efforts when they clash with the Aussies in the ODI segment of the tour.
Can Angelo Matthews and his boys continue to pile the misery on the Aussies or will the boys from down under claw back a bit of pride following the walloping they received in the Tests? Let’s check it out!
Sri Lanka vs Australia | Sunday 21 August | R Premadasa Stadium | Colombo, Sri Lanka
To Win Match
Sri Lanka 31/20 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 5/10
What a performance from the Asians in the Tests! A 3-0 whitewash of Australia; who were ranked number one in the world in the longest format of the game. They were a different class in the three Tests with the mercurial Rangana Herath leading the Lions’ charge.
What’s done is done, though. And the focus will now shift to the ODI’s, a format in which the Sri Lankans supposedly feel a lot more comfortable. The make-up of their playing personnel seems to suggest as much, and I still thank that much of Sri Lanka’s success in the longer format of the game was down to the Australians’ inability to adapt to foreign conditions.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Aussies haven’t played a Test series on the Sub-Continent since their 4-0 defeat at the hands of India in the 2012/13 season. But enough waffling on about Australia’s inability to win Tests in Sri Lanka and India and focus on the hosts’ chances come Sunday.
Running through their squad there are a couple of players who jump out at you right away in terms of ODI prowess. Angelo Matthews is an exceedingly talented cricketer who thrives in the sort of high-pressure, fast-paced world of limited overs cricket.
Another player I’m keen to see more of in the ODI arena is Kusal Mendis. The dynamic top order batsman has shone incredibly bright so far in two Test series against England and Australia – two of the world’s best bowling attacks. The 21-year-old oozes class and will be keen to stamp his authority on the shorter formats of the game.
There’s a lot of work to do for the Australians as they head into what will be five incredibly tough One Day Internationals.
There’s one big surprise when you go through the Australian ODI squad: the absence of Glenn Maxwell. The 27-year-old all-rounder simply hasn’t performed very well at international level in the last 12 months. A pretty average T20 World Cup was preceded by some bright performances in South Africa which probably helped him the World T20 side. The final nail in the coffin came after a rubbish batting performance in the tri-series in the West Indies.
He then failed to impress for the Australia ‘A’ side and now finds himself in the international wilderness – and who knows how long it’ll take before he can work himself into the set-up. Aaron Finch does return to the side, although he hasn’t managed to reclaim the captaincy from Steve Smith.
Another inclusion to the squad has seen Travis Head get another go following his debut against the West Indies in Basseterre. While he only managed a single run there, his recent performances for Yorkshire have made the selectors take note, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not he gets a run.
Finally, we’ll look at the bedrock upon which the Australian innings is normally built on – the runs generated by Steve Smith and David Warner. Neither has had the most consistent of tours so far, which is probably another contributing factor to their 3-0 loss. That said, both will be keen to break the shackles a bit and get after a Sri Lankan bowling attack that lacks a bit of venom.
Verdict: Australia 5/10
While they may have struggled in the Test matches, I don't see them having the same problems in the ODIs. The Aussies won't have to contend with Sandakan and Herath turning the ball square out of day five foot holes. They are the better team and should be respected - medium stake a 5/10.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.