Australia v Sri Lanka, World Twenty20, Group C, Trent Bridge June 7, 2009

Fighting for survival

Cricinfo staff

Match facts

Monday, June 8
Start time 17.30 local (16.30 GMT)

Big Picture

Sri Lanka's first match of the tournament is the most crucial one for Australia, who must win to stay alive in an event which has barely started. Even then a victory might not be enough after their heavy seven-wicket loss to West Indies, which puts them well behind on net run-rate. On Saturday Ricky Ponting was trying not to think of the consequences, which include the possibility of two weeks of punishment in Leicester, and will rev up his men as they attempt to avoid a fifth Twenty20 international loss in a row.

Chris Gayle stepped up and blew Australia over as they struggled at the start of both innings. A quick opening with bat and ball will be required if they are to tame Sri Lanka; nothing like the horror of giving up two wickets in the first over against West Indies and then spilling 71 runs in the first 30 balls of the chase. Australia were disrupted by the pre-tournament exit of Andrew Symonds, but they can't blame that. Nothing could have stopped Gayle's force.

Sri Lanka enter the event already knowing a victory on Monday will push them through to the next phase. In their warm-up matches they lost to South Africa after beating Bangladesh, but they will need to be more convincing to topple Australia despite the recent struggles of their opponent.

T20 international form guide (last game first)

Australia LLLLW
Sri Lanka LWWLW

Watch out for...

So much rests on the openers in Twenty20 that Sanath Jayasuriya, the grandpa of the tournament at 39, remains as essential to the team's success as he was in the 1996 version of the one-day World Cup. There wasn't much heat from him in the warm-ups, with 1 and 29, but if he fires Sri Lanka could burn bright throughout the tournament.

Mitchell Johnson was Australia's best bowler in the opening game with 2 for 36 and will carry heavy responsibility against Sri Lanka. His side needs instant impact with the ball and his control could be the difference between a realistic and impossible total. With his batting talents on the improve, he may also enter as a useful pinch hitter if the side needs a boost.

Team news

The offspinner Nathan Hauritz is unlikely to be left out again and Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle will come into contention as Australia gave up 172 runs in 15.5 overs. Brett Lee could be the one to make way after giving up 56 runs from four overs.

Australia squad Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin (wk), Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, David Warner, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Sri Lanka have some worries after their mixed warm-up form, but if their core of Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Muralitharan and Mendis performs then the headaches will ease.

Sri Lanka squad Kumar Sangakkara (capt, wk), Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Lasith Malinga, Isuru Udana, Farveez Maharoof, Jehan Mubarak, Indika de Saram.

Pitch and conditions

Trent Bridge hosted India and Bangladesh on Saturday and there were 335 runs and 13 wickets, so the pitch has something for everyone. The weather is expected to improve with light showers on Monday, but the top temperature will be a chilly 14C.

Stats and Trivia

  • Brett Lee's figures of 1 for 56 were the most expensive by an Australian in Twenty20, and the 27 runs Chris Gayle took off one of his overs was the fourth-most in the format's history
  • Australia are in their worst losing streak in Twenty20, with the four-game winless run beating their two consecutive defeats to India in 2007
  • In the teams' only previous encounter, Australia won by 10 wickets after dismissing Sri Lanka for 101

Quotes

"We were just a bit sloppy. Coming into game we had spoken about making sure we get the first over of each innings right but, as it turned out, we lost two early wickets while batting and gave away a lot off our first over as well."
Ricky Ponting after the defeat at The Oval

"The newcomers to the team bring the X-factor but the senior players have to make all the difference because they have to be the match winners."
Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's captain