Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series 3rd final, Adelaide March 7, 2012

Gruelling series reaches gripping finale


Match facts

March 8, Adelaide
Start time 1350 (0320 GMT)

Big Picture

When the triangular made a comeback this Australian summer, there was trepidation around it. After all, it was going to involve 12 ODIs before the best-of-three finals series between sides that were used to playing each other. Familiarity between India and Sri Lanka has borne boredom for a long time now, and on top of that Australia had a strong mental hold over India after a summer full of Test-bashing.

More than a month later, though, we have had an entertaining triangular series, which has stretched the two remaining teams to their last possible sinew. Two new balls, the new Powerplay regulations, the new strictness against runners and substitutes, a little bit of spice on the pitches, the physical demands of playing on big and soft outfields, have all worked a treat too. The only disappointment has been the occasional low attendance.

Fittingly, it's Sri Lanka and Australia, the fitter sides who have played better cricket, who are the last teams standing. Australia extended their domination of India, and Sri Lanka showed they enjoyed being here - they have enjoyed their cricket, they have fought longer and harder. Battles are to be seen on both sides.

Sri Lanka have lost Thisara Perera, and Farveez Maharoof and Angelo Mathews are struggling with a sore back and calf respectively. Added to that are a few bandaged hands in the side. Australia have had to reshape their bowling almost completely during this tournament. Michael Clarke has done two hamstrings to add to his back trouble, ruling him out of this match and, potentially, the ODIs in the West Indies too. David Warner is fighting a groin strain. Brett Lee is playing despite a broken foot. The two sides are staggering every bit like heavyweights in the last round of a bout, but are desperate not to end up on the losing side. Expect them to bring their best - whatever is left available to them - to this one final night.

Form guide

Australia LWLWL (Most recent first)
Sri Lanka WLWLW

In the spotlight

With his performance on Tuesday, Tillakaratne Dilshan became only the second player in ODI history to open both the bowling and batting, finish his quota of 10 overs, and then score a century too. Sri Lanka won't mind an encore.

Matthew Wade's keeping has come under severe pressure towards the end of the tournament, with dropped catches to his credit in both the finals. With the bat, though, he has provided two good starts, taking the pressure off Warner, letting him settle into long innings. Wade continues to enjoy the trust of the captain, but if he does get another start with the bat he will dearly love to make it count in a bigger way.

Team news

After the second final, Clarke said Warner was fully fit otherwise they wouldn't have played him. Warner responded with a century, and on that evidence should be available for the third final. With Clarke ruled out, Shane Watson will captain and Peter Forrest should slot back in to the middle order. George Bailey has also been called up as a contingency.

The bowling on slower surfaces remains a big worry for Australia, and they have called up local boy Nathan Lyon, who bowled a good spell in the domestic one-day competition final at the same venue about a week ago. James Pattinson is unavailable for the third final due to a glute strain. It remains to be seen if Lyon or Ben Hilfenhaus replaces him.

Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Shane Watson (capt), 4 Peter Forrest, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 David Hussey, 7 Daniel Christian, 8 Brett Lee, 9 Nathan Lyon/Ben Hilfenhaus, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.

Angelo Mathews is still recovering from a calf injury, and Sri Lanka will leave the decision to play him or not open till the last minute. However, captain Mahela Jayawardene said the decision will not be an emotional one, and that he will be picked only if he is 100% fit. If Mathews does recover in time, he will bring more balance to a side that relied on Dilshan to bowl the fifth bowler's quote on Tuesday night.

Lasith Malinga struggled with his groin towards the end of his spell on Tuesday, but he came back to bowl another over, the last one, and should be available pending a fitness test.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Lahiru Thirimanne, 6 Upul Tharanga, 7 Chamara Kapugedara/Angelo Mathews, 8 Farveez Maharoof, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath.

Pitch and conditions

The heat in Adelaide has relented, but the pitch remains slow and should behave as it did on Tuesday, if not even slower. Expect another gruelling match.

Stats and trivia

  • On the three previous occasions since 1990 that the third final has been required, Australia have always won, twice against South Africa (1993-94 and 1997-98) and once against Sri Lanka (2005-06).
  • Sri Lanka's win over Australia on Tuesday, with 34 balls to spare, was the most comfortable chase of a 270-plus total in all ODIs against Australia.
  • Warner is the only batsman to have scored two centuries in the finals series in Australia. Dilshan stands a chance to emulate him.


"No excuse for our performance in the field. We let ourselves down in the field, and our bowling was quite poor once again. We've got a couple of days to turn things around."
Michael Clarke, even if he is not playing, knows his team is faced with a stiff challenge in the final final

"We can laugh about it [dropped catches] obviously, because we had a very comfortable win today [Tuesday]. But it would have definitely cost the match and the tournament, so we need to make sure we don't make huge mistakes in the last game."
Mahela Jayawardene lets his fielders know that much better is expected of them

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on March 9, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @Marcio... Agree about the Gabba pitch - I know it well & it was slow in comparison to regular pitches... Re: Hobart Test pitch - its always green that early in the season & shouldn't be used for Tests until January... The pitch was cut to 4mm for that game, 3mm for OD'ers & 8mm for SS so it was about as flat as could be... The weather helped a great deal as well... Still the summer Test schedule left no room for a later Test in Hobart...

  • Roo on March 9, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    @JG2704... Re: Saafa series - they organised that... None of our business - they thought ODI's & T20 were better... SL series - 3 Tests, 5 ODI's, 2 T20's... Will be the same in the WI's starting next week... Re: NZ 2 Tests - well there literally wasn't time to squeeze another Test in before the 4 Test series against India... If you look at the Oz summer schedule, it usually has 5/6 Test matches which allows for all the variations of cricket to be played - this summer is exceptionally long by comparison... I have been pushing for an autumn series between Oz, SA, NZ on a biannual calendar or a stronger winter comp up north where its still warm but dry...

  • Prachi on March 8, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Team India fan here ...still I keep seeing couple people bashing India here. I guess last CB series in 2008 wasn't played in Aus since India won it. Understand that India did not play well this series but I think few people are being overly judgmental. There are plenty that support SL if India's exit as always. SL deserves to win the trophy considering their current forms in entire series. @jonesy2 - Aus has had a long summer?? I guess that's your excuse for all the losses against SL but Oz didn't look like they were having a long summer against India. If that's true then same can be said for India but that's not an excuse to use when a team performs poorly!! Its going to be a one-sided finale. I know I'll be rooting for SL. They are fittingly and deserving winners!

  • Marcio on March 8, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs the gabba was way slower, drier and flatter than usual. If you couldn't see that you don't know the Gabba. Since when do both teams get way over 300 at the Gabba? My point about serving up sub-continent-like pitches is only reinforced by the fact that we have selected two spinners for today's game. That just shows you how incredibly abnormal conditions are here.We have served the game up to the SL team on a plate. Very generous of us indeed. Maybe you forgot the dustbowl that SL served up in the 1st test over there in August. Why are we the only country that doesn't doctor wickets, and actually goes out of our way to help them? The seamer-perfect Hobart pitch for the 2nd NZ test is another perfect example.

  • mythily on March 8, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    @bmike , what a joke? Ranking decides by consistency performances over some period and not one off series.

  • Basil on March 8, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Wade currently 27 off 46. Has he learnt nothing from the last game. Australia is going to need 320+ to have a chance. Does the coach discuss tactics with these guys? SL have gone in with a very long batting lineup, so there bowling is light on. Get a move on Boys!

  • Manjuka on March 8, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Win lose or draw doesn't mater. SL Lions you have proved who the real world champions are. Good experience this because next world cup will be played here. Proud to be a Sri Lankan.

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    When we chasing 322 and when auzzie bowlers got hammered by Little Kula and the rest, Ravi Shasthri and manjrekar used to says it is b'coz Ball getting older and humid, dew and drizzle.

    when we chasing 272 they used to say the pitch is slow its almost likely an Asian crick pitches, bla bla bla...

    when we restrict auzzies to 239.. they saying it is poor batting performance from auzzies...

    but they babbling about 320 that india chased... it is a supper effort. team work. no one will ever do so,,,,

    according to them, we are still a poor team? he he...

  • Luke on March 8, 2012, 3:01 GMT

    Can anybody enlighten me as to why Adelaide get 2 / 3 finals? I'm a WACA member and we get 1 international test and 1 (Australian) ODI. Raw deal? Hell yes. Venting my frustration. And now WA doesn't look like coming up trumps for a home final. Salt in the wound!

    And... Just quietly.. the WACA is one of the most exciting wickets, traditionally, to watch a cricket match on, in my opinion.

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    Win Or Loose Good Luck Lions But its a Game Good Luck and God Bless You All From A Strong Lion

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