Australia is just over four months away from contesting the T20 World Cup on home venues, and the upcoming series against Sri Lanka will be used as preparation.
In three T20Is, at North Sydney, and three ODIs at AB Field in Brisbane, the Southern Stars will be intent on continuing their rich vein of form. The first match is on Sunday and starts at 2:40 pm. The 2nd T20I is on Monday before the final game is on October 2nd. When the action moves to Brisbane, the three ODIs are on October 5th, 7th and 9th.
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Will the Sri Lankans give us a fight?
It is not disparaging to write off Sri Lanka before a ball has been bowled. From any objective view, Australia is vastly superior to Sri Lanka. In eight ODIs and two T20Is, Sri Lanka is yet to win a match against Australia.
Not only has Australia won all encounters, but they have also done so emphatically. When batting second, Sri Lanka has not got closer than 78 runs in any run chase.
Batting first has not borne any more progress. Sri Lanka did take six wickets in Dambulla in 2016, but four losses since have been substantial.
In ODIs, Australia has been dominant over the last two years since losing to England at Coffs Harbour. The current win streak is 15 matches, and Sri Lanka will do phenomenally well if they manage to pull off a victory. Sri Lanka has split the captaincy between white-ball formats to allow Chamari Atapattu to concentrate solely on the T20 World Cup.
The Southern Stars’ performance in the T20Is will be highly scrutinised. Captain Meg Lanning will be looking for tight performances as her team has lost to both England and India in the last 12 months.
It is certainly not a concern, but this team seems only to deal with perfection. The form of Elyse Perry will worry the Sri Lankans most of all. In the last 12 months, Perry has averaged 65.42 with the bat, and 15.80 with the ball in ODIs.
In T20Is, the numbers are 110.50 and 14.45. If that continues, there is only one team going to pick up the T20 World Cup trophy on March 8th at the MCG.
Australia: Meg Lanning (C), Rachael Haynes, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Heather Graham, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham, Erin Burns (T20I only)
Sri Lanka (ODI): Shashikala Siriwardena (C), Harshitha Madavi, Chamari Atapattu, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunaratne, Yashoda Mendis, Nilakshi de Silva, Dilani Manodara, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandhika Kumari, Inoshi Fernando, Achini Kulasuriya, Udeshika Prabodhani, Ama Kanchana.
Sri Lanka (T20): Chamari Atapattu (C), Harshitha Madavi, Shashikala Siriwardena, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunarathne, Yashoda Mendis, Nilakshi de Silva, Dilani Manodara, Oshadie Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandhika Kumari, Inoshi Fernando, Achini Kulasuriya, Udeshika Prabodhani, Ama Kanchana.
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