Saturday, Mar 17, 2018 | Last Update : 09:42 PM IST
Sri Lanka will be going out in search of a series-levelling win in the second and final Twenty20 international against Australia at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday after the crushing Glenn Ma
Sri Lanka will be going out in search of a series-levelling win in the second and final Twenty20 international against Australia at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday after the crushing Glenn Maxwell-fuelled 85-run loss in the first game in Pallekele.
After being comprehensively outplayed in the Test series, Australia dominated the one-day internationals, winning 4-1, and continued that momentum into the T20Is, even though the architect of the win in the first game — Maxwell — had no role to play in the ODIs. Maxwell scored an unbeaten 145 in 65 balls on Tuesday, hitting the Sri Lankan bowlers for 14 fours and nine sixes. Even if Maxwell, who opened the innings in the first game, can’t pull off a repeat, Sri Lanka could find it difficult to lift itself — it would want to; after all, it’s the last time Tillakaratne Dilshan will turn out in his national team’s colours.
The only positive for Sri Lanka in the last game was the batting of Dinesh Chandimal, the stand-in-skipper, who scored 58 runs from 43 deliveries, and Chamara Kapugedara, who chipped in with 43 in 25 balls. On another day, against a more reasonable target, their efforts could well have ended in a Sri Lankan win, but 178/9 was no match for Australia’s 263/3.
The home side, currently no. 8 in the International Cricket Council T20I rankings (Australia are two spots higher), might consider making changes in the bowling department. Five of the six bowlers they used in the first T20I leaked runs at more than 11 per over — the only one who didn’t, Dhananjaya de Silva, bowled only one over, conceding eight runs. The options they have on the bench are Seekkuge Prasanna and Milinda Siriwardana.
Australia, meanwhile, would be hoping for another dominant performance and try to spoil Dilshan’s farewell party, exactly like they did in the ODIs.
As for the composition of the XI, there don’t seem to be any holes. It was Maxwell who led the way, but David Warner (28 in 16), Usman Khawaja (36 in 22) and Travis Head (45 in 18) played their supporting roles to perfection with the bat. Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland then returned identical figures of 3/26, while Adam Zampa also impressed with his restrictive legspin.
Australia would want to wrap up with a clean sweep, and complete its recovery after the poor show in the Tests, but Sri Lanka, missing Angelo Mathews, must be desperate to end the exchanges on an even keel.