Charge down the wicket with cricket tips for the fourth T20I clash between Australia and Sri Lanka, who are looking for a morale-boosting win after falling 3-0 behind.
19:10 (AEDT), Fri 18th Feb @ Melbourne Cricket Ground
History: Played 20: Australia 12 V Sri Lanka 8
Last meeting: February 15, 2022: Australia d Sri Lanka by 6 wickets (19 balls left) at Manuka Oval
Final Thoughts: Australia have wrapped up their T20I rubber against Sri Lanka with two matches to spare. But the World T20 champs are yet to produce a batting performance the team would be happy with and are looking to finish off the series strong as it moves on to Melbourne.
The Aussies carved out a relatively comfortable six-wicket win in Canberra on Tuesday night, reaching the modest target of 122 with more than three overs remaining.
Australia’s bowling depth came to the fore as Sri Lanka struggled to 6/121 in their 20 overs. With Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa rested, Kane Richardson (3/21) and Ashton Agar (1/14) made the most of their opportunities. Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka (39 off 38) top-scored from No.6 after the tourists slumped to 4/40 in the eighth over.
Agar was surprisingly promoted to an opener role and made a run-a-ball 13 as Australia slumped to 2/26 in the fifth over. But skipper Aaron Finch (35 off 36) and Glenn Maxwell (39 off 26) steadied the ship. Maheesh Theekshana (3/24) took the first three wickets to give Sri Lanka a sliver of a chance, but Josh Inglis (21* off 18) and Marcus Stoinis (12* off 8) guided Australia home with few worries.
Hosts cruise in opener
The hosts notched a patchy 20-run win in Friday’s series opener. Ben McDermott (53 off 41) held their innings of 9/149 together, while Marcus Stoinis (30 off 17) made an important contribution and debutant Josh Inglis (23 off 18) was the only other Aussie to reach double figures. Sri Lanka’s chase always seemed behind the eight-ball. Opener Pathum Nissanka (36 off 37) played an anchor role and Dinesh Chandimal (25* off 16) produced a spirited late cameo. But the Aussie bowlers dominated: Josh Hazlewood (4/12) and player of the match Adam Zampa (3/18) were outstanding.
Sri Lanka resurgence forces game two Super Over
The Lions closed the gap in the second match, however. Australia set a target of 165, despite Inglis (48 off 32) being the only batter to make more than 25. Sri Lanka were in deep trouble at 3/25 in the fifth over, but Nissanka (73 off 53) stayed until the last over, skipper Dasun Shanaka (34 off 19) played a fine knock, and tailenders Maheesh Tehekshana and Dushmantha Chameera managed 11 runs from the last three balls (including a final-ball four from Chameera) to tie the scores.
But Hazlewood – who took 3/22 in Sri Lanka’s innings – restricted them to just five runs in the first Super Over. Stoinis blasted consecutive fours to get the job done for Australia with three balls to spare.
Aussie shoot for nine in a row against Lions
Zampa and Cummins may return, but Steve Smith is unlikely to be back after a nasty head knock in game two.
Australia boast an 8-4 record in completed T20Is at the MCG. Sri Lanka, though, are 2-1 in T20Is at the venue against Australia – but lost by seven wickets in their last visit in 2019. The Aussies have also now won their last eight matches in this format against the Lions.
The hosts will again start as $1.15 favourites to go 4-0 up.
BBL powerhouse McDermott has tapered off after his series-opening half-century, getting out for 18 and 0. Consider backing him to find runs again as he strives to consolidate his status as David Warner’s natural successor at the top of the Australian order.