Australia vs Sri Lanka: Third T20 Preview

Batsman plays shot

Sri Lanka will look to complete an unlikely whitewash over Australia in the three-match T20 series on Wednesday. 

Australia's under-strength T20 squad has been sternly tested across two games in this series so far - and they have been found wanting. They head to the Adelaide Oval looking to salvage some pride.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have the luxury of enjoying a victory lap in South Australia after seeing off the Aussies in two final-ball thrillers.

Australia v Sri Lanka |  Wednesday 22 February 2017, Adelaide Oval | 09:50

To Win Match
Australia 52/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sri Lanka 31/20

Australia
Australia will be desperate to do well in a series that has been closer than the 0-2 deficit suggests. They will feel that the batsmen have acquitted themselves reasonably well, while the bowlers have - at times - let proceedings slip.

The lack of a quality spinner in the XI in the second match at Geelong left Australia exposed - and unable to restrict Sri Lanka's scoring, despite wickets falling consistently.

Jhye Richardson was impressive up front, but upon returning to the attack, he copped some punishment - and it will be interesting to see if he makes way for Billy Stanlake.

Australia also have to address the performance of Andrew Tye, who had the unfortunate distinction of bowling the final costly over in the second T20I. Despite the loss, he did manage to bag three wickets in his four overs.

Ashton Turner was underbowled in the series opener, but claimed three wickets in four overs, at the cost of just 27 runs in the second T20I. This is especially puzzling, as Australia had gambled by leaving Adam Zampa out of the XI.

Pat Cummins was a little expensive, but has looked like Australia's best bowler - and you'd fancy he would be the only one of the bowlers who would retain his place in a full-strength XI.

The top-order looks solid - and has performed reasonably well without blowing Sri Lanka out of the water. They really need something special from their batters at the top of the order - and the likeliest source of that 'X' factor will be skipper Aaron Finch or Moises Henriques, who hit a good half-ton in the second game.



Sri Lanka
While both games have effectively turned into 'The Asela Gunaratne Show', with the all-rounder smashing back-to-back half-centuries, there have been solid contributions from the rest of the team, too.

In the first game, Dilshan Munaweera and Niroshan Dickwella made handy contributions, while in the second all-rounder Chamara Kapugedera stepped up to support Gunaratne - and prevent another one of the batting collapses that have plagued Sri Lanka all season.

'Upul Tharanga is a sterling factor at the top of the order - and has the ability to maximise the powerplay up front. Dickwella's suspension for the final match - and one other - is a massive pity.

While Kusal Mendis is undoubtedly a great player, with heaps of talent, his poor run of form in all forms of cricket make it hard for Sri Lanka to persist in selecting him.

Their bowling has benefitted from the return of a really special player in the shape of Lasith Malinga. He has returned four wickets for 60 runs in 8 overs so far - and his experience has no doubt helped the young squad.

Seekkuge Prasanna has kept things tight while adding a few wickets into the mix - and his ability to smash the ball a long way with bat in hand make him a valuable player in this format.

Vikum Sanjaya has been consistently the weakest link in the bowling line-up and, while he picked up two scalps in the second match, he has been expensive throughout the series.

Sri Lanka may use the deadrubber to hand games to Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana and Sachith Pathirana, who have yet to feature in this series - although Udana played in the warm-up game and took some punishment.

The tourists are a side playing with confidence, but always seem as though they are one badly-timed wicket away from a batting collapse.

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Verdict: Australia, 52/100
Sri Lanka have not been imperious enough for a wounded Australian team to find them unbeatable.

The hosts have too much quality to allow themselves to be whitewashed, even without their star men in the mix - and Sri Lanka have managed to scrape home twice, which will leave the Aussies stung and motivated to improve.

Value bet: Top team batsman - Moises Henriques, 6/1
Australia's top-scorer in their last match is offered at generous odds and, should the in-form middle-order man fire again, you could bag a pretty penny.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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