Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st Twenty20, Pallekele

Setting the tone for a tough tour

The Preview by Daniel Brettig

August 5, 2011

Comments: 48 | Text size: A | A

Tillakaratne Dilshan bats in the nets, Pallekele, August 4, 2011
Sri Lanka's captain Tillakaratne Dilshan will want a victory, and some runs to go with it © AFP

Match facts

August 6, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Start time 19:00 (13:30 GMT, 23:30 EST)

Big Picture

Australia commence their tour of Sri Lanka under a captain, Cameron White, who will be flying home once the Twenty20 matches have concluded. Sri Lanka, by contrast will be led in all three formats by Tillakaratne Dilshan, leading the team at home for the first time after taking over the reins for the England tour earlier this year.

Until a narrow victory over England in the second of two T20 matches following the Ashes, Australia's form in the shortest format had been poor, losing comfortably to the Sri Lankans in Perth last October and suffering a 2-0 series reverse against Pakistan in England during the 2010 northern summer. Michael Clarke's retirement from international T20 matches handed the captaincy to White, and he will now be hoping to get the tourists off to a strong start in Kandy.

The Sri Lankans have done rather better of late, defeating England in England, but that was their first T20 international since the aforementioned defeat of Australia at the WACA. Lasith Malinga's unavailability is a significant loss for the hosts, particularly as the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and its new pitches have the potential for greater pace than most other surfaces on the island.

Both sides will want to set the tone for the tour with a first-up victory, as much to build confidence in their transitional teams as to get their opponents worried.

Form guide

Sri Lanka WWWLL
Australia WLLLL

In the spotlight

Angelo Mathews missed the Test series against Engalnd due to injury but eased his way back into some form during the subsequent limited overs matches to demonstrate why he was entrusted with the vice-captaincy before his 24th birthday. Explosive with the bat and intelligent with the ball, he played a key role in lifting the Sri Lankans to a memorable ODI victory over Australia at the MCG last year and will want to repeat the dose on home soil.

Steve O'Keefe, like his captain White, is only in Sri Lanka for the T20 matches, and is intent on showing that he should have been allowed to stay on. Peculiarly, his first-class bowling record is far better than any of his spin bowling rivals in Australia, but thus far the national selectors have declined to employ him further. O'Keefe has made no secret of his desire to push for bigger honours, and he can make a start by performing capably here to back-up the 3-29 he took on his T20 debut for Australia against Pakistan in 2010.

Team news

Sri Lanka's squad includes no fewer than six capable bowlers of spin, while the pace attack looks thin without Malinga, meaning Mathews or Nuwan Kulasekara can be expected to operate with the new ball. Aaron Finch is expected to be available having recovered from a rolled ankle suffered in training, and James Pattinson could be in line for a T20 debut.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Angelo Mathews, 5 Chamara Silva, 6 Jeevan Mendis, 7 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Suraj Randiv, 11 Suranga Lakmal

Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Brad Haddin (wk), 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White (capt), 6 Shaun Marsh, 7 Steven Smith, 8 Steve O'Keefe, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Brett Lee, 11 James Pattinson

Pitch and conditions

The Australians have been delighted by a hint of pace in the Kandy practice wickets and are hopeful for more of the same from the match strip. The Sri Lankans have trained in the evening to prepare for any moisture that may be present for a 7pm start.

Stats and trivia

  • This is Australia's first T20 international in Sri Lanka
  • It is also the first such fixture at the Pallekelle International Stadium
  • Sri Lanka's captain Dilshan is the oldest man on either side at 34, shading the Australian fast bowler Brett Lee by a little more than a month
  • Dilshan will be looking for a greater share of his team's runs, having made a meagre 23 in the five ODIs against England


"Australian usually play very hard. They may be a bit inexperienced. But they are tough opponents."

Tillakaratne Dilshan is not underestimating the Australians

"Definitely I think the way a series should be run, or a tour should be run, is that you start with your Twenty20s, then your one-dayers and then your Test matches."

Brett Lee says the tourists are happy with their Sri Lanka program

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Daniel Brettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 13:48 GMT)

Austrialian wil mis senior players, right now thay have new players, that is thebig diiffernce betmeen there side,,,,,, so lets see,,,,,,, Manlinga also big factor, but it is Lankan ground so Ausis wil b in trave,

Posted by Winsome on (August 6, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

I hope that the probable order of the Aus team is incorrect. Shaun Marsh should be in at 3 at the latest, he needs a few balls to get going but can then really motor. Haddin shouldn't even be in the team with his record over a number of years in the format but I guess if they left him out, he'd sook about it.

Posted by jonesy2 on (August 6, 2011, 10:52 GMT)

australia bats deep, down the number 10. also howcome tait isnt playing???

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 10:29 GMT)

dis vl be an exciting contest

Posted by crksl on (August 6, 2011, 9:17 GMT)

Are they going to continue the test series as "Warne Murali trophy"? No one talk about that anymore.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 8:56 GMT)


Posted by kickittome70 on (August 6, 2011, 8:54 GMT)

From an Aussie - I think the Lankans will miss Malinga but if DSM Inc (Dilshan, Sangy, Mahela) get going, then the games over. I really think Australia needs to win the toss - post 170 plus, then get the best from Lee, Mitch, O'Keefe etc to put the SL bats under scoring pressure. C White is a great T20 skipper and will do a great job. Who picked Steve Smith? The guy must have been mostly picked as a specialist fielder because his bowling and batting form is not great - funny seeing all the anti India from the guys on the blog, didnt they just win the World Cup??? Hey, India have come up against a side that has the top 6 batting lineup currently going around and a bowling set up to die for, plus a keeper who's in great form. I think Eng right now are awesome and would push a 2003 Australia side due to their batting depth, accurate, penetrative attack and self belief that only a great coach like Flower can deliver - I wish Australia had an Andy Flower, Neilsen is not great

Posted by CricketLoverFromAsia on (August 6, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

Somebody stated that Silva is not suitable but Kapugedara is. But I think These 2 Chamaras must be out of the final 15. @Dhakshika..You are asking, selectors to give confidence to Kapu. He has been given so many chances more than any other cricketer in the world. Has played 87 ODI's but average is just 22 & scored only 6 fifties. Silva played 71 ODI's average 29 and scored 1 hundred & 12 fifties. Kapugedara is the worse batsman I have ever seen. Even Kulasekara & Thisara are far better batsmen than POOR KAPUGEDARA. He must not be in 30men pool. 87 ODIs more than enough for a talented batsman to build up. That means Kapugedara is the Biggest Failure in SL cricket. Silva is also not a good batsman. I can't undrestand why SL selectors always want these 2 FAILURES to be in the top in SL cricket.@ To All IND fans who wishes SL to lose.. Yes may be Aussies win but that's the nature of cricket.. But as SL fans we don't tell poor excuses like "WE LOST BECAUSE WE MISSED SOME PLAYERS.." puh..

Posted by kickittome70 on (August 6, 2011, 8:40 GMT)

Luv my Australian team but have a real soft spot for Sri Lanka - Sangy is the best batsman to watch since Mark Waugh. The guy just looks like he's doing everything in slo-mo but has the power and timing of a genius, then you have the always entertaining and very damaging Dilshan and dont forget the old pro Mahela, best game awareness bat in the world. Hopefully the 3 Sri Lankan superstars play a lot of big shots but Australia still win.

Posted by WaldermaltCricketer on (August 6, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

@ Kalan9211..You must be an Indian fan. Because most of Indian fans stated so many Silly Excuses after being thrashed by super ENG team. You lost & will lose next two matches cuz your weaknesses.Indian team is showing their disabilities in ENG. But remember although we lose at home we are not going to state Silly Excuses like IND captain & fans did after losing to ENG,.."No Gambhir..No Shewag..That's why we lost hih hih..." You are lucky to have more Silly Excuses after Losing the Third Test " No Harbhajan..No Yuvraj..That's why We Lost..hih..hih.." ...@Vikas Dahiya.. You are also feeling the same like Kalan9211.. Don't be jealous of other teams..try to rectify your weaknesses.. Dilshan is a very good batsman in all three formats.. not like Dhoni whoi very very weak & poor in Test Matches.. All the very Best to SL..

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 8:16 GMT)'s time show the Champions nature........................come on...................Good Luck.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 7:08 GMT)

whats wrong with SL selectors.why do they keep on picking Chamara Silva.this guy should not represent SL in any format of cricket.could try with Kapugedara or Mahroof for that slot.Mahroof will be added advantage as he could run in hard and bowl some deliveries too.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

I think this will be a great contest, two great sides on show! Australians lack quality batsmen that'll be a big advantage to SL. I hope all games to be ended up as thrillers unlike the England - India tour!

Posted by landl47 on (August 6, 2011, 6:52 GMT)

Interesting contest. Australia have little quality batting, Sri Lanka have no quality bowling. Australia seem to have a bit better balanced side; Sri Lanka can win if their top batsmen get in and get runs. If this series were, say, best of 7, I'd like Australia's chances, but in two games anything can happen.

Posted by chandau on (August 6, 2011, 5:19 GMT)

Moisture in the eve is associated with cloud cover; no clouds no moisture . The bigger issue is although we are the home team, we have hardly any experience on this new pitch and it seemed like a fast one when the WC was played. If it behaves the same we have a problem without Malinga since Kula, Angie and Thisara all are simillar bowlers operating at 135kmph max. That speed will be ideal for batters used to pace and bounce like Warner Watson Hussy and Marsh, to just hit thru the line. Also unless there is some grip in the wicket none of our present spinners will be threatning (because only the Greatest Murali could spin it on a glass sheet!). T20 is a lottery and if the conditions also play a major role then it will be vital to win the toss.

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 4:51 GMT)

Dilshan overrated only thinks Aus as tough opponents! They are best Mr. Dilshan and you are gonna thrashed!

Posted by   on (August 6, 2011, 4:46 GMT)

For SL no worry about the batting. But the absence of Malinga might affect a lot. Expecting Suranga Lakmal to fire in his absence.

Posted by yyzboy on (August 6, 2011, 3:34 GMT)

I think , angelo mathewos should lead the Team. Mathewos tipped to be the fututure Captain why don't the Srilankan Cricket managemnt gibe him the Helm to lead the pack. Dilshan is not Sangar's leading calibre. Mathewos will do a great Job. Win or Lose try out the up and coming youngsters.

Posted by Kalan9211 on (August 6, 2011, 0:42 GMT)

Australia is NO.1 team, they will win all one day and t20 matches and also all 3 tests unless there is rain. Srilankans should remember 2004 series against Australia !!

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 23:11 GMT)

Should be a good contest - SL must win to build confidence for the rest of the tour. Rumesh Ratnayake is an experienced coach who will make sure that the Sri Lankans play to their potential. Important that the the big three - Dilshan, Jayawardene, Sangarakara contribute in a big way.

Posted by phoenixsteve on (August 5, 2011, 20:10 GMT)

I think that this is going to be a great and classic series. Both teams have formidable potential but are not yet at the end of their rebuikding process. I sense that the Aussies are hungry for success and need a platform of consistency before tackling mighty South Africa. Likewise the Sri Lankans are looking to resettle the side after Murali and Mailnga. It's a preety even contest and maybe the home side have the advantage - a lot will depend on Ponting, Hussey and clark with the bat and of course which Aussie bowling attack will turn up? Things are so close that it could be down to who fields the best (holds their catches). It should be agreat advertisement for test cricket and I wish both teams the best of luck! Man of the series? My guess would be Ricky Ponting - he's due a few!

Posted by Dhakshika on (August 5, 2011, 20:01 GMT)

i will all the best for the sri lanka team.but i have big doubt with out playing Kapugedara in T-20 format.he is one of the best stiker in sri lanka.he can easily clear the ropes....Mr dilshan..and all aother resposibilties..give that young Kapugedara to confidence." go and Play ur natural game...i will protect the jayasuriya early days Arjuna give that condidence & jaya show what can he do.kapu is not a no 07 batsmen.he should play from 01 to 04 Plzzzzz..dont waste his talent.. best luck sri lanka.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 19:40 GMT)

Looking forward for this wonderful game. I hope Australians will try to get back their reputation as number one team on planet but I really think that Sri Lankans are well ahead of Australians at this time. They know the weaknesses of Kangaroos. I will rate SL 70% and Aus 30%.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 18:27 GMT)

Best Luck for Australian Team.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 18:23 GMT)

can some one tell me what sort of run wud b safe score in pallekelle pitch? will there be any earlier moisture in the pitch will assist the fast bowlers. if the wicket is spicy n pace wicket. I dont think so lanka will enjoy pace bowlers coz aussie roosies r capable of generating 145 above which is handy in sub continental pitches

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 18:18 GMT)

can some one tell me what sort of run wud b safe score in pallekelle pitch? will there be any earlier moisture in the pitch will assist the fast bowlers. if the wicket is spicy n pace wicket. I dont think so lanka will enjoy pace bowlers coz aussie roosies r capable of generating 145 above which is handy in sub continental pitches

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

We could have picked a good captain some one with cool head.. also coach.. i have no idea..... if lose to Ausses at home.. its a shameeeeeee

Posted by Herath-UK on (August 5, 2011, 16:00 GMT)

Pallekele has wonderful settings,will vouch with my past experience though wonder why so late to start the T20 at 7pm;ordinary folk would find travelling back somewhat difficult. Ranil Herath -UK

Posted by likks on (August 5, 2011, 15:41 GMT)

SL will rock for sure. Though the test matches at srilanka are boring due to the kind of pitches, they are slow and dusty and don't forget the rain. test matches at AUS, ENG, SA,NZ are worth watching, also in IND due to the crowd. only IND in recent times have some success in SL. winning chances AUS- 25 %, SL 75%

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 15:39 GMT)

@ Yash Vats I would suggest you that what if,if you could wish best of luck to India vs England than Australia.

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 14:07 GMT)

Tickets sold out?? WTH???

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 14:05 GMT)

will be exciting...i am an indian but loosing interest the way indians are playing..hoping for some good action in this match.....good luck sri lanka....

Posted by VivGilchrist on (August 5, 2011, 12:46 GMT)

Johnson will go for 10+/over. Surely we must have an economical bowler ready to go.

Posted by Gamaraala on (August 5, 2011, 12:20 GMT)

Good time to give all the capable youngsters a chance to show their true colours. Let's see what we can do to the so called hungry beasts... ;)

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 12:00 GMT)

aussies will dominate this series for sure. they have really powerfull hitters and also very good bowling attack. best of luck kangaroos.......

Posted by tdslbuwa on (August 5, 2011, 11:50 GMT)

go..go..go..SL lions...!Lets hunt kangaroos...

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 11:16 GMT)

Expecting My Cricketing Fav Aussies to regain their momentum in International Cricket once again!!!!!!!! Pup & Punter will work together to improve Australia's Position in the ICC rankings!!!!1

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 10:06 GMT)

really bad choice of batting order for SL

1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Anjelo Mathews, 6 Jeevan Mendis,, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Suraj Randiv, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Suranga Lakmal / Shaminda Eranga

Thats the probable XI

Posted by Herath-UK on (August 5, 2011, 9:56 GMT)

Sri Lanka has been generous to give a pitch with some pace to Aussies who should not be taken lightly.Tharanga should be eligible for the next game,please bring him in instead of Silva. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by   on (August 5, 2011, 9:48 GMT)

we need to see a good perfomance from the lankans it will be packed stadium

Posted by BeCalmAndSupportEngland on (August 5, 2011, 9:46 GMT)

give dilruwan a chance to play or play with 10 players, don't take chamara silva

Posted by BeCalmAndSupportEngland on (August 5, 2011, 9:44 GMT)

Oh what the hell is chamara silva doing in the playing 11?He ate all the world cup matches and did nothing in the t20 interprovincial tournament.Dilshan please play with 10 players and don't take chamara silva in.

Posted by Dambulla on (August 5, 2011, 9:32 GMT)

Eranga-new all rounder found from SL-A, would be more suitable than Chamara Silva.

Posted by Alaali786 on (August 5, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

what a hell still the oppertunity is given to Chamara Silava comparatively what he acheived in international level to the Country, please selectors! enough this is more than enough, find out real talent and give a chance to them to serve the Srilankan Cricket

Posted by ratedstfu44 on (August 5, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

where the hell is Nuwan Pradeep????????????????????????????

Posted by 9ST9 on (August 5, 2011, 8:33 GMT)

Ouch! Malinga= 4 overs for less than 25....errrr......

Posted by Sudu_putha on (August 5, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

SL time to Shine..................

Posted by redneck on (August 5, 2011, 8:19 GMT)

good practise for the real tour that starts wednesday august 10. win/loose who cares the real win here is that aus get 180 overs at pallekele before the test starts!

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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