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January 25, 2013
Sri Lanka didn't quite manage to win the one-day series but they will fancy their chances in this two-match Twenty20 contest. The No.1-ranked T20 side in the world, they are taking on an outfit led by George Bailey that sits in seventh place on the ICC rankings. Not that Bailey's team bears that much of a resemblance to the side that played at the World T20 last year: of the 12 men in the squad for this game, only six were part of the World T20 group. The selectors have instead rewarded BBL form, allowing men like Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, James Faulkner and Ben Laughlin another chance at international level. The Sri Lankans, on the other hand, have plenty of international experience in their line-up. The two matches also mark the end of Sri Lanka's near two-month tour and after their disappointing Test series and shared result in the ODIs, they will be keen to finish on a high.
Form guide(Most recent first)
In the spotlight
Twelve months ago, Shaun Marsh's international career was on life support. Three months ago it appeared the situation was terminal. A big night out in South Africa during the Champions League did Marsh's reputation no good - although plenty of Perth Scorchers team-mates had also been out partying - and when the players returned home his form was so poor that he was dropped from the state side. But a productive BBL in which he was the leading run scorer encouraged the selectors to give Marsh another chance in the national T20 side. If he grabs it, 2013 might be a much more pleasing year for Marsh than 2012.
Something about T20 cricket just agrees with Lasith Malinga. Only Dirk Nannes has taken more wickets in the format than the 191 Malinga has collected. At times in the BBL he was devastating as batsmen struggled to handle his yorkers, slower balls and bouncers. Although he was overshadowed in the ODIs by Nuwan Kulasekara, Malinga is back in his best format and looms as the key man for Sri Lanka.
Australia's batting line-up appears settled, with their main decision surrounding the make-up of the attack. There are four fast men in the squad - Ben Cutting, James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Ben Laughlin - along with the spinner Xavier Doherty and the allrounder Glenn Maxwell. They can also extract some overs of spin from Adam Voges.
Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Adam Voges, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Matthew Wade (wk), 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Ben Cutting, 9 James Faulkner, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Xavier Doherty.
Sri Lanka might choose to give the teenage spinner Akila Dananjaya his first outing of the tour, while Ajantha Mendis is also a likely inclusion.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Mahela Jayawardene, 3 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 4 Angelo Mathews (capt), 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Jeevan Mendis, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lasith Malinga, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Akila Dananjaya.
Pitch and conditions
This will be Stadium Australia's second international match, after it debuted last summer with a Twenty20 between Australia and India. In the four BBL games there this season scores were not particularly high, although that was perhaps as much more to do with the Sydney Thunder's poor form as the venue.
"A couple of low scoring games here [during the BBL] so we'll have a look at that," Bailey said. "It can be a little slow and the other thing with the drop-in wickets is you don't get much pace off the square either so a little bit of adjustment. But it is always tempting to see how short it is straight here too."
Stats and trivia
"It's the same game but just with accelerated decision-making and upping the ante a little earlier [than ODIs]. But I don't think there'll be too much as far as new shots or anything like that. I certainly don't have that up my sleeve. And for those who haven't been playing the one-dayers it's perfect preparation - they've just come out of the BBL."
"We would probably say the top seven batters [not just Warner], they're really good, so we're not concentrating on any individual, but we as a team have been doing really well in the one day series and we hope to continue in the T20 form as well."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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