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|Dhananjaya de Silva||14||46||0||0||30.43|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||8.0||3||22||1||2.75|
|Dhananjaya de Silva||5||17||0||0||29.41|
Australia were humbled by Indians in white-ball cricket recently and are now set to turn their attention towards the longest version of the game for one final time before the ICC mega event. They'll face Sri Lanka in a two-match series beginning on 24th January with the first test to be played at the Gabba, Brisbane. The Aussies also have Ashes to follow right after the world cup and this test series will, in all likelihood, act as a preparatory series before the historical series. Sri Lanka, just like the hosts, are coming off a poor 2018 and will be looking to begin their new year's test campaign on a happy note.
It wasn't surprising to see Kurtis Patterson join the Australian lineup for the Sri Lankan tests, but the surprise was in him being called so late. He hit consecutive centuries in the two tour games against the tourists and has been in fantastic form right from the beginning of the summer. The selection process has already received a lot of flak of-late and the eleventh all call-up will only add to the lack of selection consistency under the current selection panel.
Another major change which we will be seeing in the Australian lineup at Gabba is the exclusion of Josh Hazelwood who is rested for the series due to an injury. Jhye Richardson, who was brilliant in the ODI series against India, is set to take his place.
Australian opening pair failed miserably in the series against India and we might see Usman Khawaja move up the order to take Finch's place. Joe Burns and Will Pucovski could be slotted in the lineup with Shaun Marsh dropped.
Regardless of how their batting did against India, their bowlers did well albeit not as good as they're known to. There was a high percentage of deliveries not hitting the stumps and that is something they'll be looking to improve on. Patrick Cummins, who was the best bowler for the Kangaroos against India, will pose the biggest threat alongside Mitchell Starc for the relatively inexperienced Sri Lankan batting lineup.
The Aussies are coming into the series after a poor run of form in the recently concluded series. With not much time left before the world cup and consequently the Ashes, they'll like to zero in on the players for the English tour as quickly as possible. Tim Paine was reasonably good as a captain and it will be interesting to see how he leads his side against Sri Lanka who are certainly not as strong as the Indians.
Marcus Harris, Joe Burns , Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, TM Head, Kurtis Patterson, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Michael Lyon.
A lot like Australia, Sri Lanka, too, are going through a rebuilding phase. Since the retirement of their veteran spinner, Rangana Hearth, their bowling has lost sharpness, and with Nuwan Pradeep, Akila Dananjaya and Angelo Matthews unavailable to play in the upcoming game, they have a lot of issues to address.
With the lack of firepower and experience in the bowling attack, the onus will be on their batsmen to rack up huge totals and put hosts under scoreboard pressure. Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, and Dimuth Karunaratne will have to play important roles with the bat for the visitors to cause any problem for the hosts.
Sri Lanka will take confidence from their performance in New Zealand, especially in the first test, where Angelo Mattews and Kusal Mendis scripted one of the most famous saves in the history of test match cricket. The duo batted for more than three sessions and denied any opening whatsoever to the potent Kiwi bowling attack. However, Angelo Mathews is out due to a calf injury and the Sri Lankans lack consistency and reliability in their lower middle order.
All in all, due to injuries and recent form, the Islanders have a lot of issues to take care of. They have a young bowling attack, which can really be lethal on its day, but is inexperienced. Same goes with their batting - they have players who can bat and put the opposition under pressure by scoring quickly, but we haven't seen them grind it out as much. It will be a tough battle for Sri Lanka, but with Australia not as potent as they used to be, they definitely stand a chance.
Dimuth Karunaratne, HDRL Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis , Roshen Silva, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, PVD Chameera, Lahiru Kumara.
The first couple of days will be the best time to bat at the Gabba. There is rain expected on the fourth day and surface will start favoring the spinners then and thereafter. The team winning the toss at Gabba is likely to bat first.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The surface at the Gabba is usually a typical Australian surface with pace and bounce on offer for the quick bowlers albeit not as much as WACA. Considering that this is a day-night match, the conditions will be a little different to they usually are. There will be a little less assistance early on for the bowlers, but it will get difficult for the batsmen once the lights start to take the effect. There is rain expected on Saturday which shouldn't really impact the result of the game. With surface likely to break towards the back-end of the game, batting first will be preferred and the team batting first will be looking to put at least 350 runs on the board.
The last time these two teams met, Sri Lanka won the series comprehensively. However, a lot has changed since then. Unlike last time, Australia are playing at home, Sri Lanka are fielding a relatively inexperienced unit, and lack depth in their batting department. Although the Australians haven't been in the best of form and were beaten 3-1 by India, it was still a commendable performance given how well they fought against powerful Indian side. The Australians have a quality bowling attack with Starc, Cummins, and Lyon and a decent batting lineup. On top of that, Australians have a superb record at the Gabba and are yet to be beaten in the day-night version of the format. Considering the aforementioned factors, the Australians certainly are firm favorites to emerge on top in the first match of the series.
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