About the Match
Sri Lanka put up a tremendous show against hosts Australia to take the series 2-0 and now they will gear up to make it a clean whitewash when they play the 3rd T20 at Adelaide on 122nd February. The last match saw Australia post 173 runs before getting all-out batting first; and the Lankans chased it down comfortably, dealing a massive blow to the Aussie camp. The hosts will be eager to redeem themselves and register a face-saving win here; it needs to be seen if Sri Lanka, which has seen a good comeback in the T20 arena, will be able to hold fort and continue with their winning momentum on Wednesday.
The top-order batsmen have done well in building the foundation in both games till now; however, the middle-order is yet to impress with steady partnerships and the big shots. In the 2nd T20 match, Klinger posted a superb 43 off 37 while Moises Henriques put up a splendid unbeaten 56 off just 37 balls to get the total to 173. Ben Dunk, Tim Head and the captain Aaron Finch made useful contributions over the last two appearances and they add stability to the batting line-up.
In the bowling front, spinners AJ Turner and Adam Zampa were brilliant with 2 wickets apiece in the first match but the speedsters proved to be too costly and they failed to defend a humble 168. In the second game, paceman Andrew Tye took 3-37 while Faulkner, Cummins and Richardson provided regular breakthroughs; however, they couldn’t do enough to stop the hard-hitting Lankans from winning the series clincher.
They have a good batting contingent with experienced players like Finch, Head, Henriques, Dunk and Klinger, who could try and put up a better show. The bowling has a good mix of spin and pace, and they will try to strategize better against the well-set batsmen from the opposite camp.
The team has of late seen a revival in its batting efforts and this has helped them take the T20 series against a tough side like Australia in their own backyard. Middle-order batsman Gunaratne has been in terrific form, helping the team chase down competitive targets in both games. He posted a stupendous unbeaten 84 off just 46 deliveries after the top-order failed to steady the innings while chasing 174. Kapugedera also played a useful hand, scoring a run-a-ball 32 and combined well with Gunaratne to steer the team across the finish line.
Earlier, the fast-bowlers Nuwan Kulasekara, who claimed 4-31, Malinga and Sanjaya, who took 2 wickets apiece, demolished the hosts to contain them at 173; Gunaratne’s all-rounder skills helped the team get vital breakthroughs in both matches and he is a strong pillar for the team. Spinners Prasanna and Sandakan have bowled economically and they add depth to the attack here.
Overall, the Lankans have risen from the ashes with this series victory and they look to be a formidable force to reckon with, even by the Aussies.
Australia has suffered a series loss yet again on home turf after their debacle against the Proteas last year and they will be determined to avenge their defeat here. On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s batting and bowling has been commendable and they definitely look better placed to win the final match, although a dead rubber.