Charge down the wicket with cricket tips for the fourth clash of the ODI series between Sri Lanka and Australia in Colombo.
19:00 (AEST), Tue 21st Jun @ R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo
History: Played 100: Australia 62 V Sri Lanka 34 (4 No Results)
Last meeting: June 19th, 2022: Sri Lanka d Australia by 6 wickets (9 balls remaining) at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium
Final Thoughts: After dropping the first game, Sri Lanka get the first opportunity to seal their ODI series against Australia in game four in Colombo.
The hosts have fought back with two gutsy wins in the past five days.
Australia drew first blood with a thrilling, Glenn Maxwell-inspired two-wicket win. Sri Lanka batted first and racked up 7/300. Danushka Gunathilaka (55 off 53) and Pathum Nissanka (56 off 68) put on a 115-run opening stand, before Kusal Mendis (86 not out off 87) took over. Charith Asalanka (37 off 42) and Wanindu Hasaranga (37 off 19) also chipped in impressively further down the order.
Set an imposing revised target of 282 from 44 overs, Aaron Finch (44 off 41), Steve Smith (53 off 60) and Marcus Stoinis (44 off 31) kept Australia in the hunt until Maxwell hit top gear. The mercurial all-rounder blasted six fours and six sixes in a match-winning 80 not out off just 51 balls, getting the visitors over the line before running out of partners. As he did in the T20I series, Hasaranga (4/58) caused Australia plenty of problems. But the legspinner was ruled out of the second game, while Agar and Stoinis added to the tourists’ casualty ward.
Sri Lanka scratched their way to 9/220 in 47.4 overs in game two. Mendis (36 off 41) top-scored again, while Dhananjaya de Silva and skipper Dasun Shanaka both scored 34 runs. The hosts’ top seven all scored at least 13, but Pat Cummins (4/35), Maxwell (2/35) and impressive debutant Matthew Kuhnemann (2/48) ensured they struggled to get any partnerships going.
Again set a revised target – 216 from 43 overs – Australia fell 26 runs short and were bowled out in the 38th over. Strikingly similar to the Sri Lankan innings, all of their top seven got starts of 14 runs or more. Warner responded with a team high 37 off 51 balls, while Maxwell (30 off 25) looked the most comfortable of the Australian batters. But Chamika Kraunaratne (3/47), Dushmantha Chameera (2/19), Dunith Wellalage (2/25) and de Silva (2/26) made inroads at regular intervals to power Sri Lanka to a handy win. Australia lost their last five wickets for just 19 runs.
Steve Smith then joined the Australian injured list, but Mitchell Marsh returned from injury (solely as a batter) in game three.
Australia posted 6/291 in the third encounter. Aaron Finch held together a shaky top order with a hard-earned 62 off 85. From that platform, Alex Carey (49 of 52), Travis Head (70* off 65) and Maxwell (33 off 18) upped the run-rate. Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay (3/49) did the most damage for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka got home with six wickets and nine balls to spare on the back of a 170-run partnership from Pathum Nissanka (137 off 147) and Mendis (87* off 85 retired hurt). Jhye Richardson (2/39) bowled superbly but was the only Aussie to go for less than six an over.
Mendis was forced off by cramps and will be available for a likely unchanged Sri Lankan team for game four. The make-up of Australia’s attack remains a question mark, with Pat Cummins rested thus far in the ODI series ahead of the Tests. Mitch Starc (finger) hasn’t been sighted in the series, while Josh Hazlewood has shouldered a heavy load. Mitchell Swepson could come in for Cameron Green with spin having such a big influence on the series.
Australia have only come back slightly from their short price ahead of the first three games, going in as a $1.47 favourite to force a decider.
Playing in his first ODI series since 2020, David Warner has made 0, 37 and 9. But with 18 centuries in 131 matches, he seems the best equipped to turn the tide for the visitors.