3rd Test Cricket Preview – Sri Lanka v Australia
Saturday August 13, 2:30pm AEST – Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo
Australia heads to Colombo with their tails between their legs after a demoralising 229-run loss to Sri Lanka in the 2nd Test at Galle, handing Angelo Mathew’s men the Warne-Muralitharan trophy courtesy of an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
Pride is on the line for Australia, but they’ll still need to find a way to counteract Sri Lankan’s spinners headed by Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera. Herath took figures of 9/127 in Sri Lanka’s 105-run over Pakistan at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in 2014 and is the third all-time wicket taker here behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas. Perera became the first Sri Lankan player to take 10 wickets and score a half century in a Test after his heroics in Galle where he took 10/99. He also became the fastest Sri Lankan to take 50 Test wickets.
Australian opener David Warner was the only Australian batsman to show any fight in the 2nd Test with scores of 42 and 41, but will need plenty of support from his top order if Australia is to avoid a 3-0 whitewash. The pressure continues to build on his fellow opener Joe Burns after a disappointing series and he could make way for Shaun Marsh.
Two things in Australia’s favour of avoiding a clean sweep is the impressive return of Mitchell Starc and the fact that four of the last six Test matches here have finished in a draw, meaning the wicket should favour the batsmen. Mitchell Starc can hold his head high after match figures of 11/94 in Galle, while the average first innings score of the team batting first in the last four drawn Test matches here is 483.
As mentioned, the conditions should suit the Australian batsmen more than they did in Kandy and Galle, but they’ll need a way to nullify Sri Lanka’s spinners which is easier said than done. The best way to do that is to put some runs on the board to put the pressure back on Sri Lanka and let Starc rip in.
The Wolf tipped Sri Lanka at the juicy price of $4.33 to win the 2nd Test, but is expecting a determined Australian side to come out all guns blazing and win the dead rubber.
Match Result – Australia ($2.62)
Sri Lanka Most Runs – Angelo Mathews ($4.33)
Australia Most Runs – David Warner ($3.75)
Sri Lanka Most Wickets – Dilruwan Perera ($4)
Australia Most Wickets – Mitchell Starc ($3.25)
Best Bet – Mitchell Starc ($3.25)