Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Sydney November 4, 2010

Sri Lanka seek first series win in Australia


Match Facts

Friday, November 5, Sydney
Start time 14.20 local (03.20 GMT)

The Big Picture

Losses don't come much more demoralising than the one-wicket defeat Australia suffered on Wednesday. To fail having had the opposition at 8 for 107 chasing 240 is a massive confidence-sapper. Australia have now lost six internationals in a row since July, and three weeks from the first ball of the Ashes that's a worrying position to be in. More immediately, they must find a way to bounce back at the SCG, or Sri Lanka will win a series in Australia for the first time. The Australians will be back under the leadership of Ricky Ponting, who missed Wednesday's game to attend his grandmother's funeral, and after their lacklustre bowling effort to Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga, don't be surprised if there are changes to the attack.

Sri Lanka, for all their joy at achieving one of the most remarkable comeback wins in ODI history, know that they too have much to work on before the second game. Kumar Sangakkara said after the Melbourne triumph that he was disappointed with their fielding, and the incredible efforts of Mathews and Malinga should not mask some top-order worries. The shot selection from several experienced batsmen was poor, none more so than the ugly cross-batted swipe from Chamara Silva, early in his innings, that resulted in him being caught at mid-on off a top edge. There could be a couple of changes to the Sri Lankan side, despite the win, as they aim for a historic series victory down under.

Form guide

(most recent first)
Australia LLWWL
Sri Lanka WWWLW

Watch out for...

Xavier Doherty made an impressive debut on Wednesday and after his first two overs had the remarkable figures of 3 for 3. He altered his pace and spin cleverly, collecting wickets with his skiddy arm ball as well as his more traditional turning delivery. Doherty should enjoy the Sydney conditions, and will be aiming to add to his World Cup credentials.

It's extremely unusual for Lasith Malinga to be celebrated for his batting, but his maiden half-century was a key part of Sri Lanka's opening win. However, it was easy to forget that he'd also done a fine job with the ball, keeping things tight if not exactly running through the batting order. He is known for his slingy action and speed, but his slower ball is particularly dangerous, as Shane Watson discovered at the MCG.

Team news

Ponting will come back and it is likely to be more-or-less a straight swap for the injured Shaun Marsh. Callum Ferguson is in the squad but it is hard to see him ousting any of the existing top six. Steven Smith hurt his back in the field during the series opener and was unable to bowl in the second half of the innings, and if he is rested, Nathan Hauritz would be the natural replacement. The selectors are also keen to see some new faces before the World Cup squad is chosen in early January, so it seems illogical to make the young fast man Mitchell Starc keep carrying the drinks. He probably won't replace Mitchell Johnson, though; despite his wayward bowling on Wednesday, the feeling in the Australian camp is that resting Johnson only makes him rustier.

Australia (possible) 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 Michael Clarke, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Steven Smith / Nathan Hauritz, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 John Hastings, 10 Xavier Doherty, 11 Mitchell Starc.

Sri Lanka's top-order batting was a worry at the MCG, and if anyone is in danger of being dropped it is Silva. Jeevan Mendis was the 12th man in the series opener and could come in to calculations, especially as he would give them some more variety in the spin department on a Sydney surface that could provide some turn.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Kumar Sangakkara (capt, wk), 5 Chamara Silva / Jeevan Mendis, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Suraj Randiv, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Muttiah Muralitharan.

Pitch and conditions

The SCG usually offers some spin, and both teams have good slow-bowling options in their line-ups. The forecast for Friday is for isolated showers and a top temperature of 18C.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia's six-match losing streak across all formats is their worst since 1996-97, when they suffered six straight defeats to West Indies and Pakistan. Earlier that year they lost seven on the trot, beginning with the final of the Singer World Series in Colombo.
  • Sri Lanka have won four of their 14 ODIs at the SCG, including two of ten against Australia
  • Doherty's 4 for 46 was the fourth-best bowling effort by an Australian ODI debutant, after Tony Dodemaide, Stuart MacGill and Carl Rackemann


    "We kept bowling bouncers that were chest high rather than head high, we bowled a few wides, we bowled a few slower balls that we didn't land properly, and we didn't really do anything out of the ordinary."
    Australia's coach Tim Nielsen knows there is much room for improvement in the bowling department

    "Come Sydney, we can't afford to make most of the mistakes we made today and expect this to happen again, because it doesn't happen often. Let's keep our heads down, our feet on the ground and start again."
    Kumar Sangakkara wants a more complete performance from his men.

    Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    @Sai Prasad. Anybody can beat AUS.SL beat them AUS in AUS not only ODI but also T20 which no other team has done sofar.That is the SL team.I think IND is having all the Ego problem that is why they never appreciating any other teams performances.

  • Derek on November 6, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    Scrap the ASHES NOW! and start the match fixing investigation before the AUSSIES turn things around and force England to do it as in their series against PAKISTAN....

  • Lalith on November 5, 2010, 21:44 GMT

    CA(Cricket Australia) needs to invite ZIM & BAN for 3 or 5 ODI series before the World Cup(WC). That would probably help to end losing streak of 11 ODI's, (assuming AUS looses next ODI against SL & 7 ODI's against POMS) and to experience winning feeling. CA needs appoint John Howard as the CEO of CA, because he has the ability to turn around any thing.

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    As per "finncam" mate I don't no what you are addressing for, no one mind where these commentators from or what they do off the feild when you're out there commentating is what important... if you wanna cheer your country should go on stands be a spectator by them selves... Any ways even this is washed out Sri Lankas will do well in "Gabba" on sunday to Like we did in 96 World cup final.....

  • David on November 5, 2010, 5:25 GMT

    While Smith plays Australia loses. I don't see what he brings to the XI. While I think he will end up playing for Australia as a number 6 batsman he has been brought in 3 -5 years early and should be given time to develop his game like any other player not from NSW. Why did they add Ferguson to the squad and not play him? As for the bowling we are sorely missing Rhino Harris' line and length bowling and I hope his injury is healing fast.

  • David on November 5, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    Sri Lanka will win again, because Australia use fast bowlers willy nilly in the search for youth for the World Cup. Brett Lee's back to scaring people for NSW and can't get a look in...

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2010, 2:28 GMT

    Come on Ponting. Burst the Sri Lankans' inflated ego balloon!

  • Dummy4 on November 5, 2010, 2:21 GMT

    Ricky Ponting is back guys,what else do you expect....THE LEGENDRY PONTING WHO IS RATED NEXT TO DON IS BACK AND I SECOND fan84,Punter will slam his critics and take away the 11 WC home.I am an Indian but support Aussies one and only for RICKY PUNTER PONTING.PONTING-THE EVERGREEN CHAMPION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • Manu on November 5, 2010, 1:58 GMT

    @ Fan84 : After a good fifteen years, if the cricketing world still 'needs to be told' by mere mortal fans like you and I how great a player ricky is, dude, there must be something seriously wrong with the chap! Ricky a 'wounded lion'? Sure. And an old and hyped one too.

  • Bob on November 5, 2010, 1:38 GMT

    Marsh & Smith out, Punter & Ferguson in.

    The faster you bowl, the further it's hit. Use your noggin fast bowlers. Don't just bowl stupidly, mix up the pace, a bit of variety & bowl @ the pegs !

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