The third and final T20I between Australia and Sri Lanka will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday (November 1).
Australia and Sri Lanka have met each other 15 times across all T20Is. Sri Lanka have the slight upper hand 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 seven times, where the score line reads 5-3 in Sri Lanka’s favour. But in the last two matches, Sri Lanka have been handed hefty defeats.
Ground Detail and Team Combination
The MCG is one of the largest grounds in the world and clearing the boundaries has not always been easy. The straight boundary is 83 m while the square boundaries are a mammoth 87 m long. That is reflected in the stats. The average first innings score in T20s here since the start of 2018, is 152.
The batsmen here have scored at an average of 25.5 runs per wicket and have lost a wicket every 19.4 balls during this time frame. The average run-rate is also a fairly decent 7.9. Another important piece of stat to note here is that captains have mostly liked to chase here. In 12 T20 games since January 2018, the captain winning the toss has opted to chase each time. Teams batting second have managed to win eight of these matches.
With the ground dimensions being as big as they are, power hitters might be the need of the hour. Batsmen like Aaron Finch and David Warner should be a no-brainer in your side while the likes of Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella might also do the job.
Australia will be without Glenn Maxwell who has withdrawn from the squad and will take a “short” break from cricket to deal with mental health issues. Dynamic left-hander D’Arcy Short has been named his replacement and will most likely play ahead of wicketkeeper-batsman Ben McDermott.
On the bowling front, there is not much to differentiate between pacers and spinners. While the fast bowlers have returned 84 wickets in T20s since the start of 2018 striking every 20.4 balls, spinners are not too far behind. They have picked up 51 wickets during this period at a strike rate of 20.8.
David Warner is back and how! He might have struggled in the Ashes but there is no denying there are few better players in white-ball cricket than him. He followed his maiden T20I century in Adelaide with another unbeaten half-century and is primed to continue his form going into Melbourne. What should further convince you to make the captain of your side is his record at MCG. Warner has smashed 340 runs in ten T20s here at an average of 37.78 which included one century and a fifty. On his day, Warner can tear apart the best of attacks in the world and Sri Lanka have been on the wrong side of it so far.
Pat Cummins might not have played a lot of T20 cricket in the last two years but he is a hard man to keep out of the team in whatever format he plays. He has been effective in the series too, his back of a length deliveries often keeping Sri Lanka at bay. Cummins has played just five T20s since January 2018 but he has had an impact in almost every game. He will once again be expected to put on a similar show in Melbourne.
Adam Zampa has quickly established his place as the prime spinner in the Australian setup and he has done a fair job of it so far. He has been in excellent form this year and is the current leading wicket-taker so far this series with five scalps in the two games. A strike rate of 9.6 and an average of 6.8 shows how much he has bamboozled the Sri Lankan batsmen. His record since the start of 2018 has been phenomenal and he certainly will be a key element going into the final game.
Aaron Finch was dismissed for a golden duck in the second T20I but the Australian skipper played an important role in his side’s convincing win in the first encounter. The right-hander smashed 64 runs in just 34 balls in the first T20I and will be eager to finish this series on a high. He has the best strike rate amongst all Australian batsman since the start of 2018, that of 174.3. If he once again gets stuck in, Sri Lanka might be in for another serious leather hunt.
It is expected to be partly cloudy on Friday with chances of a shower late in the night. However, the match is unlikely to get affected by the conditions. The temperature will hover around the 30 degree mark.
Suggested FanFight Team
Aaron Finch, David Warner (c), Steve Smith, D’Arcy Short, Kusal Perera (wk), Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc/Billy Stanlake, Adam Zampa (vc), Lasith Malinga.