Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I, Adelaide February 21, 2017

Dead rubber the last shot for makeshift home XI


Match facts

February 22, 2017
Start time 1920 local (0850 GMT)

Big question: How will captain Aaron Finch keep Asela Gunaratne in check? © Getty Images

Big Picture

Adelaide Oval concludes Australia's home international season the day after the drop-in pitches have been removed from the MCG, and the night before the Test team starts a series in India. These two events say much about how football has encroached upon the traditional Australian season, and also about why the international schedule is in serious need of greater context and better organisation. If there was anything particularly vital about this series, it was the opportunity for numerous players to make a play for contracts in the IPL, given the auction's timing between games two and three. Logically, the outstanding performer Asela Gunaratne was picked up, while the beanpole Australian fast man Billy Stanlake was also chosen. Ben Dunk, Michael Klinger and Niroshan Dickwella were among the less fortunate.

Having won both games from the final ball - albeit rather more dramatically in Geelong than in Melbourne - Sri Lanka will be eager to finish well. Equally, Australia's makeshift assembly of players will not want to leave their time with the all-star coaching staff of Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting and Jason Gillespie without winning a match. A little like the Australian team that toured India in 1979 immediately before the reintegration of World Series players, many in this group will have very little certainty about when they may next get an opportunity to play for their country, if ever again. That should provide significant motivation even as Adelaide's ground staff look towards their own schedule for digging up the pitch, and the Test team ponder playing cricket of a very different kind in India.

Form guide

Australia: LLWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WWWWL

In the spotlight

Entering this series, Travis Head took on greater responsibility as one of few regular Australian players in the squad. However after two matches he does not have much to show for it, having made a start in Melbourne and faced a mere four balls at Kardinia Oval. In Adelaide he has done many a great deed for the Adelaide Strikers and the Redbacks, and will be out for something more substantial this time around with Australia - he of course made a fine hundred against Pakistan in a January ODI at the ground. "I play well at Adelaide Oval," he said, "so if I get the opportunity again and if the batters set a platform and give me an opportunity late in the innings, or if I have to come in early, I'm happy with any situation and hopefully I can do a job for the side."

Having been the difference in both matches so far, Asela Gunaratne has something of a target on his back for game three. Most of Australia's team talk will be spent trying to find a chink in his armour, while spectators and television viewers will have enormous anticipation of what he may do next. His new owners at Mumbai Indians will also be having a close look at their IPL auction investment.

Travis Head is looking for a big score on his home ground © Getty Images

Team news

Adam Zampa can expect to be considered for a recall in Adelaide.

Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Michael Klinger, 3 Ben Dunk, 4 Travis Head, 5 Moises Henriques, 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Andrew Tye.

Having won the series, Sri Lanka may shuffle their options in the dead rubber., given Niroshan Dickwella received a two-match suspension for showing dissent.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Dilshan Munaweera, 2 Upul Tharanga (capt), 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Asela Gunaratne, 5 Milinda Siriwardana, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Seekkugge Prasanna, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lakshan Sandakan, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Vikum Sanjaya.

Pitch and conditions

Adelaide Oval's drop-in pitch is likely to be batsman-friendly while offering a little bit of nibble for pace and spin alike, due to an even coverage of grass. The forecast is for fine, warm weather.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka's first T20 international at Adelaide Oval
  • Australia are still chasing their first victory over Sri Lanka in a T20 match down under


"We don't need to do too much differently. It's the small moments in the games. We didn't finish as well with the bat as we would have liked on Sunday and with the ball, we had great plans but credit to Sri Lanka, they batted well. We've got to free the mind and play a positive brand of cricket and hopefully the tide can turn."
Travis Head believes Australia have not done too much wrong

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan73188054 on February 22, 2017, 8:52 GMT

    @ Marcio. And if Australia won on the last ball in both games??? Who has the advantage then??

  • RedDirt on February 22, 2017, 8:41 GMT

    Finally they have picked a decent side. Would like to see this:

    Finch (capt.), Dunk, Head, Henriquez, Faulkner, Turner, Klinger, Paine (wk), Cummins, Richardson, Zampa

  • Big-Dog on February 22, 2017, 8:38 GMT

    Lap it up SL fans. A win over a second rate Aust side made even weaker by left field selections by the Australian selectors will no doubt give you bragging rights but no one will remember this series tomorrow.

  • Marcio on February 22, 2017, 8:30 GMT

    It is time to change the toss rule. There is simply too much of the game dependent on the coin toss. In T20s the team batting second just has too much advantage. Alternate the team which can choose to bat or bowl from game to game. Having one team bat last in all three games is absurd. This makes 11 out of the last 12 games against Australia that SL has won the toss. It's just nuts.

  • MadavNagesh on February 22, 2017, 8:07 GMT

    Aussies, Please be kind enough to accept the losses of the team. Team b is your matter not us.See past t20 matches with Aus vs SL.

  • cricfan87266267 on February 22, 2017, 8:04 GMT

    Win is a win and it wont show it was AUS C,D,E or F team .It will be a win againt TEAM AUS. Lets see so called best of AUS players can get the job done in INDIA .

  • ajithabey on February 22, 2017, 7:36 GMT

    Hoping for a clean sweep & a kangaroo hiding on their home soil against a so called Aussie makeshift X1 against a makeshift Sri Lanka X1.

  • cricfan84762448 on February 22, 2017, 6:57 GMT

    What is meant by dead rubber ?

  • cricfan84762448 on February 22, 2017, 6:56 GMT

    Hopefully Finch will not go for a duck

  • Zoro_1 on February 22, 2017, 6:45 GMT

    Another duck from Tharanga? He should go down in the batting order.

    SL can field at night today. Temperature is not in cold regions.

    Most likely an Australia chase and win today. 2-1.

    A high octane T20 series. Thank you both teams. Well played.

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