Of all venues south of the equator, none please Sri Lanka more than the ground in Sydney. The playing surface is large, the members' area is lovely, and the stands are grand, but it is the SCG surface they really like. Each time they arrive, the pitch appears drier than those elsewhere in the country, or indeed the continent. Each time they arrive, they are posed with the same conundrum: one specialist spinner or two?
Sri Lanka have been resistant to playing four frontline bowlers in the tournament, choosing instead to rely on three allrounders and three specialist bowlers. Rangana Herath's unavailability creates further uncertainty, particularly as he has been Sri Lanka's most consistent bowler through the tournament, but captain Angelo Mathews suggested Sri Lanka's combination would not change a great deal on Sunday.
"We don't look to change our composition too much," Mathews said. "We are forced to make a couple of changes because Rangana and Dimuth Karunaratne are out of the team. But you know our current combination has worked for us so far, so we don't want to change a lot of things. The batters are doing pretty well, so hopefully whoever comes in can do it in the same manner."
That would appear to be a hint that Upul Tharanga - the only other batsman in the squad - will likely take Karunaratne's place in the order in a like-for-like swap. There is more competition in the spin ranks however, with legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna and offspinner Sachithra Senanayake seemingly in a race to fill Herath's position. Mathews suggested Prasanna may be preferred, because "out of the eight batters, Australia have got seven right-handers,"; but also said Senanayake had been ironing out the weaknesses that saw him exposed during the series against New Zealand in January.
"Sachithra has worked extremely hard to be honest. He's worked on his pace, and he has the bounce. He has tried to spin the ball as much as he can. We all know that these conditions won't help the spin bowling that much, but Sydney might help. If he plays he might be able to take a few wickets."
While Sri Lanka's batting appears to have found form over the past two matches, their attack remains a concern. The seam bowlers had taken turns having off-colour days in the in the first four matches, and though Lasith Malinga has steadily improved through the tournament, Suranga Lakmal conceded 71 runs in 7.4 overs against England, before being taken out of the attack for bowling two dangerous deliveries.
"Lakmal has bowled really well for us in the first three games. Bowlers tend to have their off days, and it was an off day for him certainly in the last game. He's a very good bowler, and we all know that. He can bowl with the new ball in the middle and also at the death. He's been working really hard for the past few days, and hopefully he'll come good tomorrow."