Champions Trophy Preview: Australia Vs Sri Lanka

Updated: Monday, June 17, 2013, 13:04 [IST]
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London, June 17: Defending champions Australia will have to put David Warner's bar brawl controversy and questions surrounding the team's culture behind them when they take on Sri Lanka in their final league fixture here today to decide the last of the remaining ICC Champions Trophy semifinal places.

It is a do-or-die battle for both teams. However, Australia have a tough task to make the semi-finals after England defeated New Zealand by 10 runs on Sunday to qualify for last-four.

CT 2013 Preview: Australia Vs SL

Australia's poor run rate gives New Zealand edge even if Michael Clarke's men win. At the moment, New Zealand are with 3 points while Australia have 1. Sri Lanka have 2. If Sri Lanka win, they make the semis.

Australia, to qualify, have to beat the Islanders by a huge margin. Their net run rate is -0.960 to Sri Lanka's -0.517. New Zealand's is +0.777.

Sri Lanka were skittled out for a paltry 138 against New Zealand in their tournament-opener but a superb bowling show by slinger Lasith Malinga saw them very nearly defend the total before losing by one wicket.

Sri Lankan batsmen, however, gave a better account of themselves in their stunning run chase against England to romp home against the hosts. Led by Kumar Sangakkara's unbeaten 134, they chased down the 294-run victory target with relative ease to keep their semifinal hopes alive.

For Australia, it would not just be about tackling the threat posed by in-form pacer Malinga but also to regroup after Warner's altercation with England batsman Joe Root in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

Australia's regular skipper Michael Clarke continues to battle back problems, which saw him missing the first two games, but is hopeful of a return to action. It will be a big test for stand-in skipper George Bailey to turn Australia's fortunes around.
Australia bowlers Clint McKay, James Faulkner and Shane Watson did a decent job in restricting England to 269 when they were looking at a 300-plus score at one stage but they still need to add more sting to their attack.

Sri Lanka have built up a nice batting unit in big three - Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene - and a lot will depend on them in deciding the outcome of the match.

Their batsmen fired in unison against England in the last match with the likes of Dilshan, Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara among the run-makers.

On the bowling front, Malinga would need some good back-up from Shaminda Eranga and Rangana Herath to cause damage in the fragile Australian line-up.

The weatherman has predicted partly cloudy sky with rain or thunderstorm and it would be interesting to see what fate has in store for both the teams.


Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachithra Senanayake and Lahiru Thirimanne.

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Shane Watson, George Bailey, Xavier Doherty, Phillip Hughes, Clint McKay, Glenn Maxwell, Adam Voges, David Warner.

Match starts at 5.30 PM IST


Story first published:  Monday, June 17, 2013, 10:30 [IST]
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