Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st T20, Sydney

Australia and Sri Lanka switch focus to Twenty20

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

January 25, 2013

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Shaun Marsh goes over the top during his 85, Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades, BBL, Perth, December 29, 2012
Shaun Marsh's BBL form has earned him a recall to Australia's side © Getty Images
Related Links
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

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by gnanzcupid 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?

Posted by Baundele 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!

Posted by DilumSL 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.

Posted by TrueLankan 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.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 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....

Posted by dunger.bob 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.

Posted by Micky.Panda on (January 26, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

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

Posted by Stat1977 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

Posted by Stat1977 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!

Posted by OzWally 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.

Posted by OzWally on (January 26, 2013, 2:04 GMT)

So the Angelo Mathews era officially begins. Although neither his batting or bowling would otherwise get him a game, really a poor man's Darren Sammy, he does have 2 things going for him. A winning smile and (for Slats and Heals) a pronouncable name.

Posted by Zoro_1 on (January 26, 2013, 1:08 GMT)

Sri Lanka should open with Dilshan and Matthews. Matthews must bat in the top order.

Posted by d1n0 on (January 25, 2013, 21:29 GMT)

@21tu and @Rocketman.. not sure where you guys are coming from regarding Angelo "talking"... This is what captains do... they face the media they answer questions. That is part and parcel of the deal. Give the guy a break, he will bring the goods. Everyone griping about his batting should consider where he bats!! Anyone comparing him to Chandimal and Thirimanna doesn't quite get the impact a player can make from where he bats. He is not going to score too many centuries from where he bats. Remember Russel Arnold? Remember how solid he was where he batted? How many centuries did he score?? Yet we were able to count on him to hold things together and keep the score ticking. Unfortunately Mathews ends up batting with the tail most of the time so he tries to save the match instead of going all guns blazing. I much rather have that stability than get embarrassed losing all wickets for under 100 runs. Chill guys he is the man for the job!

Posted by bemUSed2 on (January 25, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

"Series" such as this brace of T20 matches and the five ODIs that recently finished have such little importance or significance and will fade from memory extremely quickly when compared to the Test series... I have a suggestion to give these matches far greater importance... Why not incorporate 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and 2 T20s into one "Super Series" where every game had a bearing on the overall winner? Tests would be worth 4 points for a win and 2 for a draw/tie, ODIs 2 points for a win and 1 for a tie/no result and T20s 1 point for a win and 0.5 point for a tie/no result... This would mean a team that won all three Tests could not lose the overall series, emphasising the importance of Tests, while still giving teams who are dominant in the shorter formats a chance to fight back... This format would see Australia on 17 points and Sri Lanka on 5 points with 2 points left up for grabs... a fair reflection of the summer in my opinion.

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 20:41 GMT)

We have seen in one days. When Starc bowler and Philip Hughes hot 50 and 100 means Srilankan bowling is weak. Australia can win today very easy. Go Warner and co. Go go Australia. Cheers for Australia.

From and Indian Fan

Posted by Gurram on (January 25, 2013, 16:55 GMT)

@CricketMan - Rankings show how often individuals, as you mentioned, showed up for those teams. Just like Malinga is going to do against aus in the next T20.

Posted by jerryman on (January 25, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Would love to see Akila get a game . I think Tissara perera should be dropped , seems out of form with both bat & ball, and kushal perera should play.. series was very lack lustre , batting and fielding have been a major letdown. Time to get strong mentally . seem to lack the instinct to finish off games .. Go down fighting .. that's all SL fans can ask for.. May the better team win ..

Posted by KanAloshFozter on (January 25, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

Looking forward to see Akhika, how he'll perform in overseas conditions.. Would love to see if Finch getting some runs.He felt such a jolly guy when interacted with him in twitter. Guy is a laugh.

Posted by CricketMaan on (January 25, 2013, 14:36 GMT)

Its one format where Ranking means nothing!!! on that day its that individual that steps up the gear will infulence the result. Ranking for T20s is nonsencical.

Posted by   on (January 25, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

Play Akila and Ajantha the two most successful bowlers at the T20 world cup in 2012 and Lanka can be sure of 2-0 victory. Have you done the match SWOT?

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 25, 2013, 13:47 GMT)

Kusal janith should play in palce of thirimanne. He is the ideal t20 player. Thirimanne wont even clear 30 yard circle when its really needed. He should only play tests and ODIs.

Posted by SL_Boy on (January 25, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

Good luck Ange ... , you earn it no one in the team close to you, but don't play like 8-3 batting line up you need to trust your batting and you need at lest 4 genuine bowlers in the team. Don't count yourself, Perera and Dilshan as bowlers.

Posted by on (January 25, 2013, 13:11 GMT)

So now suddenly winning a T20 match is high this after loosing ODI and Test series.

Posted by RoJayao on (January 25, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

Hmmm, Australia are ranked a bit low at no.7 considering they made the final four at the world T20 and lost to the eventual champion. But rankings mean little in this format because it is a game of chance, anything can and does happen. SL are a decent side though and this their preferred game, plus Australia still has its best T20 player on the sidelines in Watson who apparently really strained his leg by hefting around his wallet!

Posted by Rocketman1 on (January 25, 2013, 11:39 GMT)

Angelo, it's time you earned your place in the Lankan team. A bit more consistency is required from a leader. You're not a politician. You get paid to take wickets and score runs, not to talk. As for the Aussies, I can't see how Luke Pommersback has been left out. The guy is a run making machine. There are some bright youngsters who deserve international exposure to kick start their careers. Hopefully see some fresh young faces cement their spots in the team.

Posted by trav696 on (January 25, 2013, 11:29 GMT)

Going into the T20's, it is a really stupid idea to play the same batting line up from the ODI's. At least get rid of Thirimanne because he is not a player to score at over a S.R. of 80. Bring Dilshan Munaraweera into the team to replace Thirimanne because he can really hit big. Or at least keep Kushal Perera in the side and kick Thirimanne out because he can also hit as well.

Posted by gsingh7 on (January 25, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

australia will win 2-0 , sl fans should not overevaluate as sl team always choke at final games like wc finals in 2007 and 2011 and c b series and 4-1 odi losses to india at home

Posted by Potatis on (January 25, 2013, 11:14 GMT)

How would winning the T20 series be considered finishing on a high? It's a totally hollow game that is more luck than skill. It's a game of such little substance that I couldn't care less who wins.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (January 25, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

T20 rankings are largely meaningless. I'm predicting a 1-1 series result. SL for the first game, Australia the second.

Posted by shahzadparacha on (January 25, 2013, 10:24 GMT)

Australia will miss Shane Watson (who was man of the series in last T20 Worldcup in Srilanka).

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 25, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

In Australian conditions the top order of Finch, Warner and Marsh look a lot more damaging than Dilshan, Jayawardena and Chandimal. The Sri Lankan batting hasnt fired all tour so I would imagine Australia would start favourites.

Posted by trav696 on (January 25, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

Disappointing that SL drew the ODI series, hope they can prove their No. 1 ranking and destroy Aus in both the T20's. Finish on a high boys!!

Posted by 21tu on (January 25, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

Angelo Mathew you know only to speak too much.But as a future captain you need to show your talent as expected which is not upto the standered.You have come up with few games but should focus more on your batting/bowling.Look for Baily the new captain how he is grooming.Make your self a good alrounder in international arena before you take over.Other wise I feel Chandimal or Thirimanna should fill the place.

Posted by ShehanJ on (January 25, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

@Sinhya,Sinhaya-2,Rise-of-Sinhaya Lightening may have struck twice with Kulasekara making good use of the wet overcast conditions in the 2nd and 3rd ODIs...but in the 5th ODI he went for plenty. Australia are on a high after the win in the 5th ODI. Playing Thirimanne is a waste. He is not a big hitter and before you know it the 20 overs have ended. SL will be better off playing a specialist bowler in place of him. Just because SL is ranked No.1, don't underestimate the Aussies. Most of all SL fans, "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched!" Like you did in the T20 World Cup held last year. You all know what happened in the finals. :)

Posted by brusselslion on (January 25, 2013, 9:19 GMT)

The two comments by @Rise-of-Sinhaya on (January 25 2013, 08:32 AM) & @Meety on (January 25 2013, 08:18 AM) sum up nicely the differences emerging in cricket fratenity. It appears that for more and more Asian supporters, 20/20 is all important while for most of us non-Asians, the opposite is true and we remain strong Test match supporters. Nobody is right or wrong but, if things continue to progress this way, could we be heading for a (messy) divorce?

Posted by pitch_curator on (January 25, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

@ Tal_Botvinnik -- Variations are good for openings in chess but in cricket consistency and execution of plans are more important. Malinga has only three variations -- Yorker, bouncer and slower ball. Look how successful he is. Mcgrath had almost none. Kept hitting the same spot on the pitch.

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 25, 2013, 9:06 GMT)

@Meety I think rain will be the winner. I just checked weatherzone website and BBC satellite movement and rain is expected in the evening. I will be very surprised if there will be any play.

Posted by vallavarayar on (January 25, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

Australia will take the series.

Posted by Solace1 on (January 25, 2013, 8:34 GMT)

Brother Sinhaya's prayers will be answered tomorrow, preparations are good enough to win the game and take a 1-0 lead

Posted by Return-of-Sinhaya on (January 25, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

This is what cricket's all about, we should win this t20 series, that will be a perfect reply to the aussies who are content with just a test series win, go boys!!

Posted by Htc-Baseball on (January 25, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Here it is, we are finally at a place where the whole purpose of this tour will be met, this is where our road to the t20 world cup 2014 begins, glad our boys got over those tests quickly practised hard in the one day matches and finally we are here

Posted by priceless1 on (January 25, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

if SL players stop wasting time playing football and do some actual Batting, Bowling and Fielding practice before the games , who knows they might more competitive than what we have seen so far

Posted by Meety on (January 25, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

Flip a coin. Whoever has the best opening 2 overs will win, maybe, sort of.

Posted by Tal_Botvinnik on (January 25, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

Give chances to Eranga and dhananjaya both of them were devastating and unplayable during the SLPL.I like Eranga, very fast(+140) , can swing or reverse it both ways. Also with a smooth action and he is a athlete as well.What needs is some accuracy and some luck.he needs some advice from a good bowler like lilee or donald. Akhila could be better than narine or ajmal the only problem is his experience.He turns it sharply and have 7 variations

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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