Preview: Will Sydney prove lucky for the Lankans?

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Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 16:28 [IST]
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Can Sri Lanka register their first win?

Sydney, Feb 16: Sri Lanka, with three consecutive losses, look forward to register their first win, as Mahela's men face mighty Australians in the 6th ODI of the tri series at Sydney on Friday.

With an opportunity missed, Sri Lanka are desperately in need of a victory after three successsive losses. But since the previous match against India was tied, to put them on the board in the Commonwealth Bank Series. As there are only 6 more matches after tomorrow's clash, all teams need to register more wins to reach the top as the first two teams qualify for the best of three finals.

It further suggests that, Sri Lanka have 4 more matches after their clash against Aussies tomorrow at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Batting has been a problem for the touring Lankans, as they need more runs from senior players like Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Dilshan and Upul Tharanga, as they haven't scored a half century in the series so far.

Though statistics favour Lanka as they have won five of their seven ODIs at Sydney, which includes three against Australia, hosts are definitely termed favourites Australia have been enjoying their good run in the series except for one match against India which they lost by 4 wickets as skipper Dhoni
guided India to victory with a superb knock of 44*.

Ponting's appointment as captain will be the talk of the town as he has been handed the responsibility after the World Cup, while not considering David Warner has also caused a debate. With a win, Australia will continue to lead the table, if they lose the secong leg of the tournament might turn out to be very interesting.

While the team composition is concerned, Michael Clarke who is out of tomorrow's clash due to a hamstring strain is replaced by Michael Hussey, who was rested for the previous game. Selectors have dropped Ryan Harris as they can accomodate Brett Lee, or Ben Hilfenhaus, but Lee will be available for selection after proving the fitness test on the match day.

As it looks like a decent eleven, all-rounders Daniel Christian and Mitchell Marsh battle out for one all-rounder's slot, as Christian's heroics have made him hard to drop.Doherty, who had back spasms has been given a cover as the national selection panel called up Jon Holland, from Victoria as he was ruled out on the morning of the game.

While Sri Lanka look at playing two spinners, as they are not planning to make any changes to their bowling group. Opener Upul Tharanga is expected to play well on Friday as he has not reached double figures in the series so far though he had a couple of half centuries against South Africa. If his bad form continues, there might be a few changes in the batting line-up.

Chandimal will be the key batsman for Sri Lanka, as he has been in great form while Angelo Mathews too scored an unbeaten 64* against Aussies in their previous encounter. While Aussies are wary of Malinga's heroics, and aware of this Sri Lankan side which actually fought back in Perth denying them a victory until it went on to the wire.

Moreover, Sangakkara needs 11 runs to reach the milestone of 10,000 ODI runs to become the third Sri Lankan to achieve the feat and the 10th batsman in the world.

Similarly, Hussey brothers and the openers are the key for Aussies as there are chances of Hilfenhaus joining the pace attack.

The last time Australia played at SCG, they chased 334 to beat England, which suggests that it is going to be a perfect batting surface, while weather could play spoil 
sport as there are chances of thunderstorm as the maximum temperature is expected to be 28C.

Likely XI:

Australia: David Warner, Matthew Wade, Ricky Ponting, Peter Forrest, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Daniel Christian/Mitchell Marsh, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty/Jon Holland, Ben Hilfenhaus.

Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath.

The match is scheduled to start at 8.50 am (IST) while the toss will be at 8.20 am. Stay tuned to www.thatscricket.com as we bring you the live updates.


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