Sri Lanka will take a lot of confidence from their performance that they won without Hasaranga. The successful use of Dhananjaya, particularly in the power play of the Australian openers, is a blueprint that they are sure to repeat in this series. However, they need more returns with the bat, as their entire top reached eight double digits, but no one pushed through to make more than 36.
Australia is also frustrated that their top order could not go through in Pallekele. David Warner and Smith both played well but made mistakes at key moments. Australia’s Vice Captain Alex Carey commented ahead of game three that the top order was eager to go deeper into the game and create bigger partnerships. In the field, too, they would like to sharpen up after two sloppy performances in the first two ODIs. But Australia pitched well in game two with debutant Matthew Kuhnemann putting in a fine display after being called up to replace Ashton Agar.
(last five games, most recent first)
Sri Lanka could very well go unchanged into game three if Hasaranga is still unavailable due to a groin injury. Their well-balanced attack worried Australia and gave Dasun Shanaka options, but the strikes still look a little vulnerable. They can bring in Bhanuka Rajapaksa, leave out Vandersay, and use Dhananjaya’s entire surplus. But it seems unlikely.
Sri Lanka (possibly): 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Dunith Wellalage, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Jeffrey Vandersay , 11 Maheesh Theekshana
Australia (possibly): 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Steven Smith/Travis Head, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Alex Carey (World Cup), 6 Cameron Green, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Swepson, 10 Matthew Kuhnemann, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Rain could play a part again with both games in Pallekele interrupted. A stray thunderstorm is forecast for the afternoon. A new field in the R Premadasa Stadium may not be taking as much turn as the surface in Pallekele, but the spinners still have a role to play.
“We lost wickets at crucial moments and just couldn’t get a real partnership. So we’ll think about that. We’re in a new location, so we’ll take all the information as best we can today and when will we start working on that tomorrow. ”
Alex Carey speaking about what Australia needs to improve ahead of the 3rd ODI in Colombo
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