Sri Lanka will be going out in search of redemption in the second and final Twenty20 International against Australia at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday (September 9) after their crushing Glenn Maxwell-fuelled 85-run defeat 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, smashing the Sri Lankan bowlers for 14 fours and nine sixes. And, even if the odds on a repeat of that sort of performance were low, Sri Lanka could find it difficult to lift themselves in time to bounce back – they 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 for 9 was no match for Australia’s 263 for 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 their XI, there don’t seem to be any holes. It was Maxwell who led the way for them first up, 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 for 26, while Adam Zampa also impressed with his restrictive legspin.
Australia would want to wrap up with a clean sweep, and complete their 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.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Milinda Siriwardana, Kusal Mendis, Seekkuge Prasanna, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Sachith Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dasun Shanaka.
Australia: David Warner (capt), George Bailey, Scott Boland, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa.