Manhandled! Brutalised! Demolished!
Adjectives like these do pure justice to Sri Lanka’s performance in the first T20I against Australia in Adelaide. The pressure is now on Lasith Malinga and Co. as the home side will look to seal the three-match series at the Gabba where they will play the second T20I on Wednesday (October 30).
David Warner might have struggled badly in the Ashes but when it comes to white-ball cricket, he is a different beast altogether. The left-handed opener smashed his maiden T20I century and along with skipper Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell helped Australia plunder 233 for 2 in their 20 overs. In reply, Sri Lankan batsmen could never going and only managed 99 for 9 in their 20 overs, losing the match by a record 134-run margin.
Finch looked at his brutal best from the very first over and that allowed Warner to take little time to get himself in. The Australian captain brushed off all the injury concerns and looked at the utmost ease against Sri Lankan bowlers. Meanwhile, Warner too started playing freely after couple of overs and the two added 122 runs in just 10.5 overs. The two went after Kasun Rajitha who grabbed the unwanted record of bowling the most expensive spell in a T20I - 0 for 75.
Australia had the freedom to keep going and they sent Glenn Maxwell out to bat at No. 3, and the swashbuckling right-hander didn’t disappoint. Maxwell, who has been Australia’s leading run-scorer since the start of 2018, blasted 62 off just 28 deliveries, including seven fours and three maximums. The Victorian loves playing against Sri Lanka against who he has racked up 281 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 224.80.
“I said tongue-in-cheek he looked quite level-headed, not all over the place, and then saw he was 45 off like 15 balls. Just crazy. He’s brilliant for us, especially in T20 cricket,” said Pat Cummins about Maxwell.
Such was the dominance of these three batsmen that the likes of Ashton Turner, Steve Smith and Alex Carey didn’t have to do anything. Sri Lanka will have to pick up early wickets if they want to put any pressure on the home team. Sri Lankan captain Malinga didn’t have a great outing in Adelaide and the onus will be on his experienced shoulders to give his team early breakthroughs and ensure Australia doesn’t get off to a similar start in Brisbane.
Australia will be without Mitchell Starc as he will be away for his brother’s wedding and that will give one of Billy Stanlake or Sean Abbott an opportunity to impress the team management. Despite Starc not being there, Australia still have a solid bowling attack. The likes of Cummins and Adam Zampa were amongst wickets in the last encounter, while Kane Richardson and Ashton Agar were very economical.
While Sri Lankan bowlers got hammered all around the park, their batsmen threw in the towel without putting up any fight. Not a single batsman could cross the 20-run mark, and the likes of Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Kusal Perera and Oshada Fernando will have to stand up and try to put some pressure on Pat Cummins and Co.
The surface at the Gabba offers something to both the batsmen and bowlers. In nine T20s since the start of 2018, the average first innings score is 165 and the batsmen here have scored at an average of 26.1 runs per wicket and have lost a wicket every 18.3 balls. The average run-rate during the time frame is also quite decent - 8.5.
Australia are hot favourites to take an unassailable two-nil lead in the series and the Islanders will have to come up with something spectacular if they want to get the better of the home side and keep themselves alive in the series.
Australia Squad: David Warner, Aaron Finch(c), Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey(w), Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Billy Stanlake, Adam Zampa, Sean Abbott, Ben McDermott.
Sri Lanka Squad: Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Niroshan Dickwella(w), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga(c), Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Pradeep, Shehan Jayasuriya, Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Oshada Fernando.