February 22, 2017
Start time 1920 local (0850 GMT)
Adelaide Oval concludes Australia's home international season the day after the drop-in pitches have been removed from the MCG, and the night before the Test team starts a series in India. These two events say much about how football has encroached upon the traditional Australian season, and also about why the international schedule is in serious need of greater context and better organisation. If there was anything particularly vital about this series, it was the opportunity for numerous players to make a play for contracts in the IPL, given the auction's timing between games two and three. Logically, the outstanding performer Asela Gunaratne
was picked up, while the beanpole Australian fast man Billy Stanlake was also chosen. Ben Dunk, Michael Klinger and Niroshan Dickwella were among the less fortunate.
Having won both games from the final ball - albeit rather more dramatically in Geelong
than in Melbourne
- Sri Lanka will be eager to finish well. Equally, Australia's makeshift assembly of players will not want to leave their time with the all-star coaching staff of Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting and Jason Gillespie without winning a match. A little like the Australian team that toured India in 1979 immediately before the reintegration of World Series players, many in this group will have very little certainty about when they may next get an opportunity to play for their country, if ever again. That should provide significant motivation even as Adelaide's ground staff look towards their own schedule for digging up the pitch, and the Test team ponder playing cricket of a very different kind in India.
Australia: LLWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WWWWL
Entering this series, Travis Head
took on greater responsibility as one of few regular Australian players in the squad. However after two matches he does not have much to show for it, having made a start in Melbourne and faced a mere four balls at Kardinia Oval. In Adelaide he has done many a great deed for the Adelaide Strikers and the Redbacks, and will be out for something more substantial this time around with Australia - he of course made a fine hundred against Pakistan in a January ODI at the ground. "I play well at Adelaide Oval," he said, "so if I get the opportunity again and if the batters set a platform and give me an opportunity late in the innings, or if I have to come in early, I'm happy with any situation and hopefully I can do a job for the side."
Having been the difference in both matches so far, Asela Gunaratne
has something of a target on his back for game three. Most of Australia's team talk will be spent trying to find a chink in his armour, while spectators and television viewers will have enormous anticipation of what he may do next. His new owners at Mumbai Indians will also be having a close look at their IPL auction investment.
Adam Zampa can expect to be considered for a recall in Adelaide.
Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Michael Klinger, 3 Ben Dunk, 4 Travis Head, 5 Moises Henriques, 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Tim Paine (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Andrew Tye.
Having won the series, Sri Lanka may shuffle their options in the dead rubber., given Niroshan Dickwella received a two-match suspension
for showing dissent.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Dilshan Munaweera, 2 Upul Tharanga (capt), 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Asela Gunaratne, 5 Milinda Siriwardana, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Seekkugge Prasanna, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Lakshan Sandakan, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Vikum Sanjaya.
Adelaide Oval's drop-in pitch is likely to be batsman-friendly while offering a little bit of nibble for pace and spin alike, due to an even coverage of grass. The forecast is for fine, warm weather.
"We don't need to do too much differently. It's the small moments in the games. We didn't finish as well with the bat as we would have liked on Sunday and with the ball, we had great plans but credit to Sri Lanka, they batted well. We've got to free the mind and play a positive brand of cricket and hopefully the tide can turn."
Travis Head believes Australia have not done too much wrong