Sri Lanka v Australia, 2nd Twenty20, Pallekele August 7, 2011

Lessons aplenty for the visitors


Match facts
August 8, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Start time 19:00 (13:30 GMT, 23:30 EST)

Big Picture
There is no substitute for match conditioning. This much was clear after the first Twenty20 between Sri Lanka and Australia in Kandy, as the hosts showed the benefits of a testing tour of England, as opposed to the training camps in Brisbane and net sessions in Colombo that served as the visitors' preparation for the tour opener. The Sri Lankans also showed far better knowledge of the conditions, bowling plenty of spin on a surface that offered turn, while Cameron White preferred to use his pace bowlers in the latter stages and saw them belted out of sight by his opposite number Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Australia's coach Tim Nielsen described it as a "frustrating" start to the tour, but there will be more gnashing of teeth in store for the tourists if they do not tighten their fundamentals and show a little more understanding of the conditions that confront them. Shaun Marsh and David Hussey in particular looked out of sorts against the accurate spin of Dilruwan Perera, while Mitchell Johnson's first spell of the tour was disheartening in its inconsistency. More encouraging was the bowling and batting of Steve O'Keefe, and the slugging power of David Warner.

Australia need to show the capacity to learn quickly from the reverses of the first match, while Sri Lankan will seek to extend a psychological advantage.

Form guide
Sri Lanka WWWWL
Australia LWLLL

In the spotlight
Tillakaratne Dilshan was the undisputed star of the first match, and the Australians will need to find better ways of coping with his combative attitude and inventive strokeplay. Dilshan was not placed under too much pressure as a captain in the field either, as his bowlers kept the Australians in check. Cameron White said he had resorted to adjusting his field to counter the 'Dil-scoop' and thus created other gaps for the Sri Lankan captain, a rare admission.

Mitchell Johnson was attacked mercilessly towards the end of the innings, and was unable to find consistent line or length, let alone any swing. His work with the new bowling coach Craig McDermott is key to Australia's success in future matches on this tour, and he will want to improve his performance after a shoddy start.

Team news
Sri Lanka seem unlikely to make many changes to a team that performed so soundly and evenly in game one. For the Australians, Aaron Finch's pugnacity may be useful after some of the batsmen struggled for traction in the opener, 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 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Jeevan Mendis, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Dilruwan Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Dhammika Prasad, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Suranga Lakmal.

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

Pitch and conditions
The surface for the first match confused the Australians somewhat by offering some bounce but also plenty of spin, a combination the Sri Lankans were far quicker to adjust to. Match two will be played on a similarly equal-opportunity surface.

Stats and trivia

* Tillakaratne Dilshan's century was the fifth in T20 internationals
* Dinesh Chandimal was the fifth batsman to be out hit wicket in T20I matches
* Sri Lanka had not previously won a T20I at home, losing their first four such fixtures
* Dilruwan Perera achieved the rare feat of taking wickets in each of his first three overs in international cricket

"I had the confidence to play it. It worked and I think after I played the Dil-scoop they changed the field and I felt [it was] more easy to score more runs in other areas."

Tillakaratne Dilshan succeeded in dictating terms to Australia's bowlers in game one

"If anyone scores a hundred off 57 [55] balls it will be hard work to win the game from there. But look, there were some disappointing aspects of the game from our end as well."

Cameron White knows the Australians need to sharpen up after looking rusty in the opener

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on August 9, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    I personally think that T20s should only be for the Olympics, with Test playing nations only allowed to send amateurs, (every other nation (180 odd) can send their best players), & the Champions League replace the T20 WC. All countries with ODI status can send a side to the League, with the stronger domestic comps having more than one team represented. BTW - this is an opinion I had BEFORE Oz started losing T20s! LOL!

  • Christopher on August 8, 2011, 23:17 GMT

    @taniap.Have you even been to australia? Football is a winter sport. Cricket is a summer sport.Theyre not connected. Australia along with england inaugurated test cricket 134 years ago and have a rich national connection to its traditions. In a complete repudiation of the CA position on the popularity of traditional cricket in australia, recent studies show that at club and playing level, its never been more popular. @Trioboy and @wazza85 are exactly right. Other than paytv, free to air coverage and ABC radio support have evaporated. What product can be sold successfully,when there is little or no main stream advertising. This approach, along with four reckless and inexplicable years by this administration,have seen CA make losses in consecutive years and notionally introduce BBL to counter it. A cynical person might suggest that it was always the intention to drive traditional crickets fortunes down to promote the 20/20 vested interests. Whatever 20/20 is, its not cricket.

  • Martin on August 8, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Hey @redneck - @landl47, guys. Dead right. It's time IPL/T20 was smashed back into the wilderness where it came from.

  • david on August 8, 2011, 13:22 GMT

    i cannot understand the aussie captain is supposed to be a spinner why does he not bowl, in fact he does not bowl in any form of cricket even victoria,not sure about his club side in oz.and johnson hes an absolute shocker in any form cannot understand why hes selected 1 good game in 10.dpk

  • Nuraj on August 8, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Are the boundaries of the 1st T20 match are too close. Can some one tell me about the boundary long of that match............

  • Dummy4 on August 8, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    aus will come back strongly.

  • Michael Ponnudurai on August 8, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    Traditional Aus apathy to using Spinners virtually cost the match. Both Stevens went at around or under 6.50 per over while fast men went @ 9+ per over. David Hussey was not used at all and both Stevens were used few overs shorter than the quota they could have bowled. As long as Aus Captains, Managerement, and selectors keep treating spinners like this Aus cricket will keep struggling As an Aus fan, I would like to see Aus changing this approach

  • Ranil on August 8, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    Ascendancy for England started with their triumph in T20,so it is mighty important for Aussies to win today though sadly they come up against a jubilant Sri Lankan team.Cameron should try to get the best out of the spinners.Why did Dilshan leave Rangana Herath so late giving some runs to Aussies. Ranil Herath-Kent

  • Tania on August 8, 2011, 10:32 GMT

    wazza85 and Trioboy, despite them doing well internationally in the past, cricket was never Australia's favourite game. It was always Rugby and Footy. So I am not surprised they don't show cricket on Aussie TV.

  • Shashin on August 8, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    @ali Unfortunately it seems the selectors continually have avoided hodge. probably the unluckiest cricketer ever considering his talent. his international days a most likely over now

  • No featured comments at the moment.