Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lankan Lions to Take on the Kangaroos in Sydney

Australia vs Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on 8th March 2015 - Match Preview

Sri Lanka will take on Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground tomorrow for the second place in Pool A. The 3rd placed team will have to face South Africa in the Quarter Final and hence there will be that added scenario for both the teams to look forward to.

The Australian batting has been in superb form except for the one bad game they had against New Zealand where Trent Boult ripped them apart in a spell of 5-3-3-5. They raked up 340 against England in their opening game with Finch getting a century and Maxwell hitting a quick fire 50. They also hit over 400 against Afghanistan in their last game at Perth where David Warner hit a 178 and Maxwell and Steve Smith got half centuries in double quick time. The batting has also been bolstered by the return of their skipper Michael Clarke who is a great player of spin and since the SCG pitch is known to favor the spinners, Clarke might be a key player in this match. James Faulkner  is also back in the Aussie side after recovering from his injury and remains a dangerous finisher.

Starc and Johnson are capable of inflicting havoc and pain but the slow Sydney pitch might not be to their liking. The ball might come on to the bat nicely with the pace with which they bowl and that might help in stroke making. Michael Clarke and Glenn Maxwell will have some work to do in Sydney as I do not think that Australia will play the only specialist spinner in their squad, Xavier Doherty.

The Sri Lankan batting has made rapid strides since the World Cup began just over 3 weeks ago. Their openers, Dilshan and Thirimanne have stitched together useful opening partnerships which has allowed Kumar Sangakkara at number three to express himself as he hit the two fastest centuries of his career against Bangladesh and England. Mahela also hit a gritty ton in their hard fought win against Afghanistan. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are also in decent form. Dimuth Karunaratne is out with a broken finger and he might be replaced by leg spinning all rounder Seekuge Prasanna.

Sri Lanka will be looking for an encore from their top 3! 
Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne both got unbeaten tons in the last game against England

Lasith Malinga has been getting better and better and was clocking 140 kmph in the game against England. Will the toe cruching yorkers make an appearence and create an impact against the Australians, especially while bowling to Maxwell and Faulkner is what I am really keen to see. Suranga Lakmal has bowled with control and swung the ball both ways. In fact so many catches have been dropped off his bowling that I feel sorry for him. Mathews, Perera and Dilshan will all bowl on the slow SCG pitch and try to vary their pace. Senanayake might come in place of Herath who had 4 stitches to his spinning finger and might not play this game.

Key Battles: Australia vs Sri Lanka

Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc vs Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara

Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner vs Lasith Malinga

This is one game that I was looking forward to as Sri Lanka have traditionally done very well at Sydney. Sri Lanka have won their last 6 games out of 8 that they have played at this famed venue and they have won 8 out of 14 completed games they have played against the Australians since 2010. Both the teams will be pretty keen to finish at the second position behind New Zealand and we are sure to witness an epic battle.

PS - The image used is courtesy www.espncricinfo.com

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