Sri Lanka and Australia go toe to toe in the second One Day International at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Wednesday.
While Australia claimed a somewhat redeeming win over Sri Lanka in the first of five ODI’s, it will be a match remembered for Mitchell Starc becoming the fastest player to reach 100 ODI wickets.
With Starc’s achievement and a bit of pitch controversy surrounding the first ODI, things are shaping up quite nicely before the teams clash again on Wednesday morning.
Sri Lanka vs Australia | Wednesday 24 August | R. Premadasa Stadium | Colombo, Sri Lanka
To Win Match
Sri Lanka 7/4 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 46/100
The Sri Lankans – perhaps still suffering the after-effects of their 3-0 whitewashing of Australia in the Tests – put in a decidedly below-par performance in the first of five ODI’s. An average batting display by the whole of the top and middle order – with the exception of Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal – meant that the hosts only put on 227 in their allotted 50 overs.
The two guys who did get solid scores – Mendis and Chandimal only managed strike rates of 70.52 and 67.79 for their scores of 67 and 80 respectively. That’s simply not good enough in modern one day internationals. Batsmen on both sides clearly struggled to deal with the turn that the spinners were generating. Every single ball seemed to kick up a puff of dust as the batsmen battled to effectively time the ball or pierce the in-field.
The one thing that bugged me about this Sri Lankan display was their tactics after the Australians came in to bat. Why on earth did Tillakaratne Dilshan open the bowling with Angelo Matthews? Why did Matthews bowl more overs than Lakshan Sandakan when the conditions clearly favoured chinaman? We’ll probably never know, and to be honest, it’s inconsequential right now. What’s done is done and the players need to focus on the second ODI to be contested at the same ground.
I’m not sure whether or not said ODI will be played on the same strip that was used in the first match on Sunday. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day – the deck at the R. Premadasa Stadium will always be a rank turner and it’s something the batsmen are just going to have to deal with.
Looking ahead, I’m not sure there will be any changes to the squad. While they put in an underwhelming performance, I still feel that they would have been in with a shout had they been more tactically astute in the second innings.
The Aussies would have been happy to get their first win – barring that one win against the Sri Lankan President’s XI – of this tour. Solid batting performances from the likes of Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade and George Bailey ensured that the chase made easy enough for the guys further down the order.
David Warner’s up-and-down tour continued as he was dismissed for eight by Perera. The Australian vice-captain is usually as consistent as anyone, but has struggled for his trademark steadiness during this tour. The little Aussie is due a big score now, and I feel that one such score is just around the corner.
While the Aussies claimed a much-needed win, it was Mitchell Starc who stole the show after becoming the quickest bowler in history to 100 ODI wickets. The New South Wales native reached the milestone in 52 matches, beating Saqlain Mushtaq’s record by a single game. Starc bowled brilliantly in conditions that really offered nothing to the seamers to claim figures of 3-32.
There shouldn’t be really any changes going into the second ODI. The only one I can think of – especially going into the second ODI in Colombo – is to bring in someone like Nathan Lyon at the Josh Hazlewood who was wayward and expensive.
Verdict: Sri Lanka 7/4
Sri Lanka have all the tools in their locker to win this match – especially in Colombo where the conditions will favour their spin-heavy attack. They’re priced up nicely at 7/4 and should be backed with a small to medium stake.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.