Sri Lanka vs Australia 3rd T20I: Preview and Prediction
The third and final cricket match of Sri Lanka and Australia T20I series will take place on Saturday, June 11 at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium in Kandy. Australia has already won the series 2-0 and will be aiming for a clean sweep. On the other hand, Sri Lanka will be competing solely for pride.
Australian batters escaped Wanindu Hasaranga‘s leg-spin fury to seize the series 2-0 by winning the second T20 of the ongoing three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka on Wednesday. While chasing a low total of 126, Aussies stumbled on multiple occasions due to the wizard spinner Hasaranga’s spell of 4 for 33 but were led home, in the end, thanks to Mathew Wade’s 26 down the order.
Earlier, the hosts failed to deliver with the bat and were restricted by the visitors on 125 runs. Even while defending the total, Sri-Lankan bowlers showed a good fight but lost the match by 3 wickets in a close encounter.
The first T20I was won by Australia in a dominating fashion, as they claimed a 10-wicket victory on Tuesday. The visitors chased down a score of 129 runs in just 14 overs, courtesy of an opening wicket stand involving Aaron Finch and David Warner.
What have they done so far?
This is Sri Lanka’s third series after the end of the 2021 T20 World Cup. In their first such series in February 2022, they suffered 1-4 drubbing at the hands of Australia. They lost the first four games in a row that included a Super Over loss against the World Champions but won the last game of the series to salvage some pride at the end of the tour.
Later in the same month, the Lions suffered a clean sweep at the hands of India in the latter’s own den losing all three games to the sub-continent heavyweights, and have followed that by losing the first two games of the current series as well. Thus, after the World Cup, the Shanaka-led side has played 10 games of which they have won one and lost eight. They have also tied one game in that run however they suffered a defeat in that as well courtesy of a super over.
Meanwhile, since winning the Men’s T20 World Cup in November last year, Australia has so far played eight games in the format. They played seven of those games against Sri Lanka, five at home earlier this year where they won three games outrightly while they also registered one win in a tied game against the same opponent courtesy of a super over.
They, however, lost the fifth and final T20I of the series to end the series on a 4-1 winning margin. They have also played two games against the Lions in the ongoing series, ending on the winning side in each of those games.
The Kangaroos were also involved in a sole T20I encounter against Pakistan in April earlier this year, which the World Champions won convincingly to further establish their dominance in the format in recent times.
Head to Head Record
Both the sides have played each other 24 times in the format. The ‘head to head’ count of this rivalry is currently helmed by the defending World Cup champions with 14 victories. While their counterparts Sri Lanka is also not much behind and currently sailing on nine wins against the Kangaroos. One of the fixtures also ended in a tie, however, it was the Men in Yellow who won that game in Super Over.
The story is the same when both these teams have locked horns against each other in the Island nation. The Kangaroos have won four of the six games amongst the teams having won the most recent four such games while Sri Lanka has won two.
Wanindu Hasaranga (Sri Lanka): Wanindu Hasaranga is now the unequivocal leader of Sri Lanka’s attack and will be the key bowler for opponents to study after his performance in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He took 26 wickets at 16.53 and an economy rate of 7.54 in the tournament to finish one wicket shy of the purple cap winner Yuzvendra Chahal.
He almost single-handedly won Sri Lanka the second T20I as Aussies stumbled on multiple occasions due to the wizard spinner’s spell after scalping 4/33 in the last game. This was his best performance against the World Champions after scalping seven wickets in four games prior to the last game. With Aussie batters facing difficulty in reading the bowler in Sri Lankan conditions, he should hold the key to the game.
David Warner (Australia): The mainstay of Australia’s batting line-up, David Warner will be the biggest opener to watch out for in the series. The swashbuckling opener silenced his critics last year with his key role in Australia’s maiden T20 World Cup triumph following a poor IPL season with Sunrisers Hyderabad after which he was termed ‘finished’.
Ever since his starring role in the world Cup, the southpaw has been in superb touch with the bat, also impressing in the recently concluded IPL wherein he scored 432 runs at an impressive average of 48. He also scored five half-centuries in the 12 games he played in the tournament.
He also impressed in this series after scoring unbeaten 70 runs in the first game to forge a 134-run partnership with Aaron Finch to win the first game of the series by 10 wickets before scoring 21 in the second game as well. Thus, he is the leading run-getter of the series scoring 91 runs from two games.
Predicted Playing XI
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa (WK), Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka (C), Chamika Karunaratne, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana, Dushmantha Chameera
Australia: Aaron Finch (C), David Warner, Matthew Wade (WK), Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Agar
Sri Lanka suffered an awful batting collapse as they surrendered an excellent opening to their game with Australia and were subsequently on the end of a hammering. The fightback from the reigning T20 world champions was impressive as they capitalised on the momentum they generated by taking some quick wickets before a ruthless batting performance from the batters.
That win lays down a real marker for the remaining game of the series and having claimed such a convincing success to continue their excellent run of form, the Aussies have to be favoured to make it three wins in three games.