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January 27, 2013
Sri Lanka's impressive all-round performance in the first match in Sydney has given them a 1-0 lead and their tour of Australia ends with the possibility of making it 2-0 during the final game at the MCG. Whatever happens in Melbourne, Sri Lanka will remain the world's No.1-ranked Twenty20 side and Australia will stay at No.7, but for Angelo Mathews' men this is an opportunity to at least claim superiority over Australia in one format on this tour. For Australia, victory or defeat in this outing means little in itself, but for individual players it is a means to show the selectors why they should win further opportunities. Australia have few T20 engagements this year and for men like Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges, James Faulkner, Ben Cutting and Ben Laughlin, every game is a chance to firm up a claim on a T20 position for future contests. After all, the next World T20 tournament is only just over a year away.
Form guide(Most recent first)
In the spotlight
Aaron Finch is a batsman of enormous potential but he hasn't shown his best during his outings against Sri Lanka so far this month. A clean striker who hit the roof of Melbourne's Etihad Stadium while playing for the Renegades this season, Finch has the potential to be a an important top-order man for Australia's T20 side alongside David Warner and, when he returns, Shane Watson. He just needs to grab his opportunity.
Before the limited-overs games began, Kushal Perera was almost unheard of in Australia. But when he got a chance in the ODIs due to Dinesh Chandimal's injury, he showed himself to be a promising strokemaker as well as gloveman. On T20 international debut in Sydney, he made a crisp 33 from 22 balls opening the batting and was a key factor in Sri Lanka's chase going so smoothly.
James Faulkner was the 12th man for the first game and he is likely to be included for this match. Ben Laughlin, who struggled to replicate his BBL form in Saturday's game in Sydney, could be the man to miss out.
Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 Adam Voges, 6 Matthew Wade (wk), 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Ben Cutting, 9 James Faulkner, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Xavier Doherty.
Sri Lanka's success in Sydney might encourage them to retain the same side, although after the victory the captain Angelo Mathews said Tillakaratne Dilshan would need to be assessed, having been struck in the face by a bouncer from Laughlin. "Not really sure. The physio will have a look at him and we'll decide tomorrow or the day after," Mathews said of Dilshan's availability.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Kushal Perera, 3 Mahela Jayawardene, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews (capt), 6 Lahiru Thirimanne, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Ajantha Mendis.
Pitch and conditions
The pitch at Sydney's Olympic Stadium was a little up-and-down and the MCG should provide a slightly truer batting surface. "I think it will be a little bit flatter in Melbourne," said Glenn Maxwell, who has played plenty of T20 at the MCG with the Melbourne Stars. "I think it will be a lot more consistent and there will be a lot more runs scored." The weather forecast for Monday is clear.
Stats and trivia
"Very disappointing. We felt like we got outplayed in all three forms [batting, bowling an fielding], which is not a good thing"
Glenn Maxwell on the Sydney loss
"I think we're a very good unit when it comes to the one-day and T20, but I wouldn't say that it is at the expense of Test cricket."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Brydon Coverdale
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