Australia-Sri Lanka Second ODI Preview
Sri Lanka have the opportunity to claim a historic One-Day International series victory in Australia tomorrow as they have never won a series on Australian soil.
They will have to battle hard however, as captain Ricky Ponting is back in the side after missing out on the first game due to a family bereavement.
Although Sri Lanka won the first game of the series, Kumar Sangakkara and his men will know that it was not convincing and they will need to prepare well to clinch the series.
In the first innings, Sri Lanka performed well with the ball, keeping Australia to an attainable 239, as Tissara Perera gained his second ODI five wicket haul. The first came a few months earlier against in Dambulla against India. With Perera coming through the ranks, it will allow skipper Sangakarra many more options as he will be able to control the game with the experience of Muttiah Muralitharan and seamer Lasith Malinga.
Micheal Hussey showed good signs after a recent poor run of form, as he played the anchor role through the innings, finishing on 71 not out from 91 deliveries, with only one four.
Wicket-keeper Brad Haddin also continued to justify his selection over young Tim Paine as he got his side off to a blistering start, making 49 from just 55 balls, including eight fours. If he and the ever- consistent Shane Watson establish themselves at the top of the order, Australia will invariably get off to a flying start.
However, Cameron White was bowled first ball by a vicious Perera delivery and if Australia are to be sucessful they will need his destructive power to get to post an unassailable target or reach a challenging target set for them.
The Sri Lankan batsmen are going to have to work out how to play against the impressive Xavier Doherty, as most of the top five struggled against his left-arm spin. The debutant also provided a crucial run out for his side to dismiss Upul Tharanga. With the next fixture being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, it is likely that the 27-year-old will find some assistance in the surface and he may be able to give his side their first international victory since July.
Although Malinga smashed his previous ODI top score of 16 and scored his first international half-century, the Sri Lankan batsmen would be ill-advised to leave it to their long haired hero again.
Sri Lanka are yet to lose in Australia on the current tour, which some may argue makes this their best chance for a series victory over the Australians in some time.
© Cricket World 2010