Adelaide, Febuary 18: With a 3-0 lead in the five-match T20I series against Sri Lanka, World Champions Australia will now look to tinker their line-up keeping the upcoming T20 World Cup preparations in mind.
Despite giving their best in the first two T20I matches, Sri Lanka failed to make a comeback in the third T20I. Their poor performance in Canberra let Australia seal the series with three consecutive wins and take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Although the Lankans have shown intent, they have not been able to edge ahead of the Aussies. The Sri Lankan bowlers have been exceptional throughout the series but the batters are yet to contribute. In the first T20I, Sri Lanka had managed to restrict Australia to a modest total but their batters failed to put up a good show handing the hosts an easy win. Pathum Nissanka has been the only Lankan batter who has shown some good form in the series, but his brilliant innings of 73 in the second T20I went in vain when they lost the match in the Super Over. The expectations were high for Sri Lanka to come out strongly in the third T20I, but their batting woes continued, allowing the hosts dominate once again.
The absence of Wanindu Hasaranga, who tested Covid positive before the third T20I, was a huge blow for the visitors. His capability of taking wickets at crucial times had helped Sri Lanka put up a fightback in the first two T20Is. In absence of Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana led the Lankan bowling lineup and performed brilliantly but did not get any support from other bowlers. With Sri Lanka playing the last two T20Is for pride it will be crucial for the batters like Charith Asalanka, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis to contribute with the bat.
Although the hosts have clinched the series, the wins haven’t come easy for them. The Sri Lankans have tested the Australian batters, who have found themselves lucky to be on the winning side. With the absence of David Warner, and Aaron Finch struggling with his form, the host batters have been unable to finish well. However, their bowlers have done exceptionally well, particularly Josh Hazlewood who has taken 8 wickets in the three matches.
Now that the series is in the bag, their key quicks – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood – have all been rested. And with the next T20 World Cup just six months away, Australia will be looking to experiment more.
In the third T20I in Canberra, Australia managed to sneak out an easy win and defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets to clinch the series.
Australia after winning the toss had asked Sri Lanka to bat first. With Sri Lanka needing a victory to keep the series alive there was a huge responsibility on the batters to set up a fighting total, but the Australian bowlers had their own plans, they kept picking up wickets at the right time and restricted the visitors to a below-par score of 121/6 in 20 overs.
Chasing a target of 122 runs and despite losing the openers early, Australia managed to cross the line with ease. Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell’s steady innings in the middle overs laid the foundation, while some handy contributions from Josh Inglis and Marcus Stoinis helped the hosts achieve the target with 3.1 overs to spare.
“We are shuffling our guys to know the depth of our squad. Very good signs indeed. If we want to structure our sides with a particular combination, we need to try out a few players. We need 7 batters is what I personally think. The wickets haven’t been really true. I have been waiting for the opportunity to get the width,” Aaron Finch, Australia captain said.
“No positives today. Poor start from our boys and we were 20-30 runs short. I think we should bat well in the first 6 overs and not throw our wickets away,” Dasun Shanaka, Sri Lanka captain said after previous loss.