The first T20I between Australia and Sri Lanka will be played in Adelaide. The two teams have met each other 13 times across all T20Is. Sri Lanka have the upperhand here having won eight of these encounters. In the last five T20Is though, the hosts have the lead having won three of them.
In Australia, these two teams have met six times, where the scoreline reads a surprising 5-1 in Sri Lanka’s favour.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
The surface at the Adelaide Oval has largely been favourable for batsmen with the average first innings score across four T20Is, the last of which was played in 2017, being 169. Even if we look at more recent numbers, the narrative remains the same.
Since the start of 2018, the average first innings score at the Big Bash League has been 172. The batsmen have scored here at an average of 35.7 runs per wicket, which is the best across any ground in a T20 Australia since January 2018 while a wicket has only fallen every 24.8 balls. The average run-rate during the time frame is also a fairly high 8.8.
On the bowling front, pacers are clearly the lesser sufferers when compared to spinners. Out of the 96 wickets to fall here in T20s since the start of 2018, 70 have been returned by pacers at a strike rate of 24.2 to 26 by spinners, who have struck at 34.
The right arm pacers have been the most effective breed here since the start of 2018, having picked up 63 of the 96 wickets to fall striking every 23.7 balls. However, their economy is on the higher side of 9.1. Leg spinners are second on this list in terms of wickets during the time frame but their economy is a much better 7.8.
While Australia have the wily Adam Zampa in their armoury, Sri Lanka have Wanindu Hasaranga in their setup who had an excellent tour of Pakistan and bowled well in the tour game against Prime Minister’s XI too. A combination of five frontline batsmen, one all-rounder, backed up with two leg-spinners and three pacers could be the way to go for your team.
Glenn Maxwell has been Australia’s lynchpin especially in the shorter formats of the game. He is the country’s leading run-scorer since the start of 2018 with 675 runs in 21 outings at an average of 45 which includes three half-centuries and two centuries. What should further convince you to make the captain of our side is his record in T20Is against Sri Lanka. He has racked up 219 runs in four innings against the island nation with one century and a half-century striking at 225.8. He averages an unprecedented 219 against them!
Aaron Finch is coming into the T20I series in imperious form having smashed a career-best 188 for his state side Victoria in a List A game earlier this month. He has the best strike amongst all Australian batsman since the start of 2018, that of 174.4. There is no denying that Finch is one of the most destructive batsmen in the game. Though there are some injury concerns surrounding him, if he gets stuck in, Sri Lanka might be in for serious leather hunt.
Wanindu Hasaranga has been one of Sri Lanka’s most promising bowlers in recent times. He made his T20I debut in September this year and in just six matches already has 12 wickets at a strike rate of 10.8 and a more than acceptable economy of 6.6. In fact, he has picked up at least a wicket in every T20I that he played. Hasaranga was the leading wicket-taker and the Player of the series in Sri Lanka’s 3-0 whitewash of Pakistan earlier this month. He will again be a key aspect on a surface where leg-spinners have historically done well.
Lasith Malinga has been around for ages but batsmen around the world still haven’t quite been able to figure him out. No matter his age and fitness concerns, Malinga will remain a key bowler especially given the conditions. He did not play the T20Is in Pakistan but was at his lethal best against New Zealand at home returning four wickets in four balls in one of the games. Malinga had a decent IPL too where he played a key role in taking Mumbai Indians to the title. Malinga is Sri Lanka’s joint leading wicket-taker this year with 12 wickets in seven outings at an economy of just 6 and can help you score important points.
The weather is largely dry in the lead up to the first T20I in Adelaide and although there a few threatening clouds forecasted for the day, rain should not really be a problem.
Suggested FanFight Team
Aaron Finch (vc), David Warner, Kusal Mendis, Glenn Maxwell (c), Alex Carey (wk), Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Wanindu Hasaranga, Adam Zampa, Wanindu Hasaranga, Pat Cummins, Lasith Malinga