Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st T20, Sydney January 25, 2013

Australia and Sri Lanka switch focus to Twenty20


Match facts

January 26, Stadium Australia
Start time 1935 (0835 GMT)

Big Picture

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)
Australia LLWWW
Sri Lanka LWWWT

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.

Team news

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

  • Australia and Sri Lanka have met in six T20 internationals. Sri Lanka have won four and Australia two
  • This will be Australia's 59th T20 international and if Cutting debuts, he will be the 60th player to represent Australia in T20s


"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."
George Bailey

"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."
Angelo Mathews

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gnanavelu on January 26, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    Lanka will be pushed down from the top of the icc t20 rankings by the end of this series. Australia could have given more of their uncapped players some international experience against weak sides like lanka. Aus will be really feasting on ajanta mendis's bowling today. Such an exposed bowler is he now in terms of technique. Even kids will know to play him after seeing his videos. Akila should be a good inclusion. Why not bring herath in to test the opposition?

  • Baundule on January 26, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    With no BPL match during this weekend, I am looking forward to this SL-Aus match. Rain, rain go away!

  • Dilum on January 26, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    SL is going through a hard time and it will become much harder as the seniors retires. Mahela is a good captain but he is not the best he can't compare with Arjuna. Let's hope Mathews will do a good job. He is not ready yet but we have no other choice. and good luck for todays game. 1.Dishan 2.K Perera 3.Chandimal 4.Mahela 5.Mathews 6.Jeewan 7.T perera 8.Kula 9.Malinga 10.Ajantha 11.Akila could be the best team. May be we can replace Mahela with Lahiru. But Lahiru is not T20 type player but no other choice.

  • Zammam on January 26, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    If Kushal and Akile don't play and instead Thirimanne plays I am simply not watching. Anyway, rain will win the series 2-0.

  • Phani on January 26, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Srilanka No.1 T20 funny ICC ranking system is...Srilanka doesn't have any specialist batsmen in T20, nor a good alrounder ( Mathews? you are kidding)..nor a good keeper or finisher..yet No.1? May be its just because of Malinga with his devastating bowling is pulling SL i guess....

  • rob on January 26, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    @ bemUSed2 on (January 25 2013, 21:25 PM GMT) : That idea has a lot of merit I think. .. damn, it's a great idea actually. It does put relevance into every match on tour. .. we can still have separate rankings for the three formats but also have your combined rankings to determine an outcome on a tour where the spoils are more or less evenly shared. .. I reckon your weighting system would be the biggest bone of contention. It looks OK to me but there will be people who will argue that T20 or ODI should get top billing. .. Once again, I like it. Good work mate.

  • Mick on January 26, 2013, 5:21 GMT

    Its all a big yawn. Australia does not play the best T20 players, regardless of their age.

  • Hamesh on January 26, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    @gsingh7-So all Indian fans are unbiased and evaluate your team right? How was your evaluation India in England(4-0,3-0.2-0), In Australia(4-0), CB Series -out, Asia Cup- Out, T20 Worl Cup- out, Eng in India 2-1,Pak in India2-1..oh..too much..We & rest of the world know how you over rate your team always....ha ha

  • Hamesh on January 26, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    @Rajasekaran.Your name suggets where you from so no need to mention it! Woow you are trying hard to be a pre match analyzer..What as your prediction before 0-4 Aus Vs India test series? Looking at that we would accept your predictions..big LOL!

  • Anthony on January 26, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Wow, two more meaningless T20 games. You can tell they are meaningless because they couldn't even schedule a third game so we could have a series winner. Could someone please wake me in time for the Test series in India.

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