Match Preview – Australia vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023/24, Match 14

 – Gudstory

Match Preview – Australia vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023/24, Match 14 – Gudstory

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The Big Picture

Even in a tournament with nine group stage matches allowing room for a slip or two, you don’t want to be 0-3 down early in the competition. But this is exactly the situation that Australia and Sri Lanka will face after their encounter in Lucknow in what is effectively a competition to maintain realistic hopes of reaching the semi-finals. It has been a difficult start for both teams, but getting two points in this match will revive the belief that they can still challenge for a top four finish.

Australia’s struggles, with its participation in the World Cup, are making headlines. They had a tough start to the tournament by pitting hosts India against a confident South Africa, but they were significantly off the pace in all three disciplines. Sri Lanka managed to score more runs – more than 300 against both South Africa and Pakistan – but their problem was that they conceded runs at a higher rate: 773 from 98.2 overs in two matches for an average of 7.86 runs more, meaning Kusal Mendis’s brilliant century against Pakistan did not It wasn’t enough.

Adding to their woes is that they lost their captain Dasun Shanaka to a tournament-ending injury, meaning Mendes will now take over the captaincy. However, despite the bowlers being put to the sword, the spinners will fancy their chances of impressing the Australians.

In a move that was very un-Australian, they made two changes after just one game. Cameron Green’s exclusion was largely expected against South Africa, but Alex Carey’s exclusion was a major talking point even if his form was patchy. They are still competing with a 14-man squad, Travis Head has yet to join the group, and Sean Abbott is the only one not yet involved.

Batting has become a concern as no one has yet reached a half-century – Australia currently have the lowest batting average of any team in the tournament at 18.80, and have failed to reach 200 in their first two matches.

In ODIs, the last meetings between these teams came in mid-2022 in a five-match series, when Sri Lanka won 3-2.

Form guide

(Last five games, most recent first)

Australia very funny
Sri Lanka LLLLL

In the spotlight: Adam Zampa and Kusal Mendis

Australia bet their final squad on not replacing Ashton Agar with a player like him, and while Glenn Maxwell held up his end of the bargain with his part-time team-mate, their woes were compounded by a rare loss of form. By Adam Zampa. Since taking 4 for 48 in Bloemfontein, he has taken 7 for 430 with an economy of 7.41 in six matches. Zampa had been plagued by nagging injuries ahead of the tournament, while former captain Aaron Finch said he was also suffering from a groin problem, and is currently struggling to either take wickets or keep the economy rate down.

“You don’t think he’s bowling up front like he’s done in the past,” Finch told ESPNcricinfo. “He’s been having neck and shoulder issues. I know he’s got pain in his hip at the moment. Whether it’s just affecting him technically – bowling is not my experience – but he’s not bowling.” [at] His best ever against India. But you also play bowling against the best players in the world. I think back to the first time he bowled, and he was cut off for two boundaries. One was a good ball – it probably hit the top of the off stump to KL [Rahu] – and slides beyond the back point for a count of four. Then you are on the defensive because your best ball has been hit for four. You start overthinking it sometimes and may stray from your initial plan.

On the other hand, Kusal Mendis is in amazing form. If you include his warm-up innings against Afghanistan, he has made 356 runs in his last three overs, with 122 off 77 balls against Pakistan, the best in an ODI. But the question is whether he can maintain such a fluid nature with the added burden of leading the team, adding to the intense workload as a wicket-keeper as well. Mendis has a good one-day record against Australia, averaging 50.33 from 11 innings.

Team News: Australia likely to remain unchanged; Sri Lanka needs reinforcements

Australia are likely to remain unchanged, meaning Josh Inglis will retain the keeper’s gloves, but there is pressure on the big three to step up their game and take an early lead. There have previously been issues with Marcus Stoinis bowling in back-to-back matches but he only bowled two overs against South Africa, so that shouldn’t be a factor.

Australia (Possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Mitchell Marsh, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Josh Inglis (wk), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Marcus Stoinis, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Pat Cummins (captain), 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood

Shanaka has been ruled out of the tournament, replaced by Shamika Karunaratne, a lower-order power bowler and hard-hitting batsman, who could slot straight into the mix. They may also be without fast bowler Mathisha Pathirana, who has a right shoulder problem and is “under observation” according to the team manager.

Sri Lanka (Possible): 1 Pathum Nissanka, 2 Kusal Pereira, 3 Kusal Mendis (capt, WK), 4 Sadira Samarawickrama, 5 Sharith Asalanka, 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Donith Willalage, 8 Shamika Karunaratne, 9 Mahesh Thekshana, 10 Kasun Rajitha. 11 Dilshan Madushanka

Pitch and conditions

The pitch at Ekana Stadium became more difficult as the match went on as Australia faced off against South Africa, and they certainly got the better of the fast-paced attacks in the second half. This may have an impact on what the captain who wins the toss decides to do. However, Pat Cummins and Shanaka, before his injury, won both shots, did different things each time, and watched their team get beaten on each occasion. So they may just want to leave it for others to decide. Meanwhile, it is set to be another hot day in Lucknow.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have not beaten Australia in seven attempts in an ODI World Cup since clinching the title in 1996.
  • Australia had barely half their chances in their first two matches: eight chances out of 14. This gives them the lowest percentage of chances of all the teams at the World Cup so far.
  • quotes

    “A lot of Australian teams, when they’re in trouble, play their best cricket. We found ourselves in trouble early in this tournament, but we’ve got to come out and do really well against Sri Lanka.”
    Mitchell Marsh He hopes Australia will respond before it is too late

    Andrew McGlashan is deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo


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