About the Match
Australia made a comeback with a win in the third ODI match to take a 2-1 lead in the series; they will take on hosts Sri Lanka in the 4th ODI at Dambulla on 31st August. A stellar bowling attack by the visitors saw Sri Lanka getting all-out for just 226 on board, which was chased down successfully by the Aussies in 46 overs. In the 2nd ODI, Sri Lanka had won the contest by a massive 82 runs after defending a target of 288 thanks to a combined spin and pace attack; however, they couldn’t repeat the magic in the last game. This is a crucial game as Australia has an advantageous lead that could give them the series while the Lankans will have to fight hard to keep the series alive.
Playing his last ODI, Dilshan put up a fierce display of his batting skills, scoring 42 runs; however, he had no support from the other top-order batsmen like Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis. Chandimal yet again revived the innings with a spectacular 102 from 130 but the rest of the batting line-up fell like a pack of cards, and the hosts could muster only 226 runs in the end.
Spinner AmilaAponso, who had claimed a superb 4-18 on his ODI debut in the last game, took 2 key wickets that of hard-hitters Finch and Faulkner; he was well-supported by speedster Mathews who took 2 scalps and other spinners DilruwanPerera, Prasanna and Dhananjaya de Silva, who took 4 wickets between them, but their efforts went in vain as the total was too small to defend.
In the second ODI, the middle-order had performed well, keeping the scoreboard ticking and players like Mathews, Mendis, KusalPerera and Chandimal can be vital assets for them. The spin combination has been providing regular breakthroughs and they can pull off surprises here too.
Although staggering with the bat in the start of the chase, Australia recovered handsomely to reach the target of 227 set by the hosts and win the match by 2 wickets; George Bailey was the top-scorer with 70 off 99 and can stabilize the innings in the middle while openers Finch and Warner can bring out their batting power to pile up the big runs. Travis Head and Matthew Wade contributed well with 36 and 42 runs respectively in the last game and along with others like Faulkner and Shaun Marsh, add depth to the batting line-up.
Earlier, spinner Adam Zampa provided quick breakthroughs as he took 3-38 while pacemen Starc, Hastings and Faulkner took 2 wickets each to stifle the Lankan batsmen. Hazlewood also claimed a wicket and adds variety to the attack while Nathan Lyon can be used as an extra spinner here.
In the second ODI, the batting line-up had crumbled under pressure with the openers falling for single digits; this win has surely boosted their morale and they can put up a stiff challenge to Sri Lanka again.
Although Australia has the lead and can experiment a bit here to outplay the hosts, they will not take the Lankans lightly and may use the same winning combination to succeed. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has been doing well in the bowling department and looks well placed to use its deadly spin attack and redeem themselves with a win here.