Sat, Mar 5, 11:11am by Kevin Pitstock
Sri Lanka v Australia: 20th Match Group A, Saturday 5/3 – 8.00pm (AEDST) at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
The last time these two teams met each other in a World Cup game was in the 2007 final at Barbados. Thanks to weather and one of the great ODI centuries from Adam Gilchrist, Australia won very convincingly.
Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody was hit with a barrage of scrutiny for his team’s underwhelming performance. He returned home a few months later to coach his beloved state of Western Australia and has never returned.
After hearing that story, who would want to be current Sri Lankan coach Trevor Bayliss? The former New South Wales player is well aware of the enormous expectations placed on his team’s shoulders, but there is no doubt he will be doing everything in his power to make sure Sri Lanka avoids that situation against Australia tonight.
AUSTRALIA’S LAST FIVE ODI GAMES:
SRI LANKA’S LAST FIVE ODI GAMES:
The form of Mitchell Johnson has been outstanding throughout the World Cup so far. The intimidating left-arm paceman has taken eight wickets for the tournament and currently sits in third spot on the overall wicket tally. Johnson needs to get on top of Sri Lanka’s top order early and take wickets in order to give Australia the upper hand.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is Sri Lanka’s new Sanath Jayasuriya. Since transforming himself into an opening batsman, the 34-year-old has become one of the most innovative and destructive one-day players in the international game. Dilshan hasn’t scored a century since August last year, but if he is able to get on top of the Australian pace attack during the early overs of the match, a mammoth innings and a Sri Lankan victory.
Heavy rain shower – maximum temperature of 30 degrees
LIKELY AUSTRALIAN TEAM:
LIKELY SRI LANKAN TEAM:
Australia vs Sri Lanka – Who Wins?
This group match is arguably the most important one of the tournament so far. A win here would mean either team would cement a high spot on the group table – a massive luxury heading into the quarterfinal stage of the tournament in a few weeks time.
Australia has bonded together superbly as a team in its first few games. The form of the lethal pace attack has been outstanding – almost intimidating at times. Johnson, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait have not only taken wickets, but also developed a great chemistry between each other.
Sri Lanka was disappointing, to say the least, during its 11-run loss to Pakistan earlier in the tournament. It was a game the Lankans should’ve won – and they know it. But perhaps that loss was the one they needed to have to remind them to not to drop off in intensity against quality opposition
The toss for this match is ridiculously crucial. With a packed house and no natural light expected, chasing on the spin-friendly Colombo wicket will be extremely difficult – particularly for the Aussies since they rarely play in Sri Lanka.
Pretty simple – win the toss, bat first and set a big target. Oh and bowling accurately might help too.
Expect the Sri Lankan batsmen to attack the inexperienced spin combination of Jason Krejza and Steve Smith during the middle overs. Both bowlers have no international experience on Sri Lankan soil and could be a vulnerable under the immense pressure.
Australia has had a dream run in the World Cup so far, but Sri Lanka is primed to put an end to it. In front of a packed home crowd, the Lankans should play close to their best and win the most important match of the tournament so far.
BEST HEAD-TO-HEAD BET:
Sri Lanka ($1.93 – Centrebet)
OTHER SUGGESTED BETS:
Sri Lanka High Bat – Tillakaratne Dilshan ($4.50 – Sportsbet)
Mitchell Johnson To Take A Wicket In His First Over ($5.00 – Sportingbet Australia)
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