Australia vs Sri Lanka First T20 Preview and Prediction: Who Will Make Winning Start?

Aaron Finch and Dasun Shanaka ahead of Australia vs Sri Lanka.
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World Cup winners Australia will make their first return to the format since being crowned world champions. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are looking to step up in this format and establish themselves as one of the world’s leading sides after a period in the relative wilderness. Who will come out on top? Read on for our full Australia vs Sri Lanka first T20 preview and prediction:

Australia vs Sri Lanka First T20 Preview and Prediction

Recent Form

Australia did not head to the World Cup in the UAE as one of the favourites to leave with the title, but that is exactly what they did. There were some low moments, including being thrashed by England in the round-robin, but they grew into the tournament as it progressed and by the time they beat New Zealand in the final, they were playing some very fine cricket. They will back themselves to maintain that sort of level on home turf, even if they are currently without a coach.

Sri Lanka have also not played a T20 since the World Cup last year, but their campaign was not quite so memorable. They stormed through the preliminary rounds, hammering Namibia, Ireland and the Netherlands, with the Dutch bowled out for just 44, but they could not back that up against the big guns. They were only able to get results against the West Indies and Bangladesh, ultimately finishing fourth in their group and some way short of qualifying for the semifinals.

Expected Teams

The hosts have named a strong squad, featuring several of their all-format players. Aaron Finch will open, with Ben McDermott partnering him at the top. Josh Inglis will debut and bat at three, with Steve Smith at four, with Glenn Maxwell at five and Marcus Stoinis at six. Matthew Wade, or bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar will likely bat at seven. Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will likely be given a run out ahead of the tour of Pakistan. Adam Zampa will round out the XI.

Sri Lanka are without Kusal Mendis, who tested positive for covid-19. Pathum Nissanka was solid against Zimbabwe in Sri Lanka’s ODIs. Expect him to open with Avishka Fernando. In a squad light on batters, Dinesh Chandimal may bat at three and take the gloves. Charith Asalanka is an option at four, with the middle order fleshed out by all-rounders Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Danushka Gunathilaka and Ramesh Mendis. Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando and Lahiru Kumara provide seam-bowling options.

Prediction

Sri Lanka were well-beaten when they last played a white-ball series in 2019 against Australia in Australia (and a red-ball series for that matter). The Sri Lankan batters struggled to cope with the pace and bounce the Australian quicks extracted from the surface, whilst their own bowlers did not really trouble the Australian batting line-up. It does not seem that a great deal has changed in the interim. In fact, if anything this is a weaker Sri Lankan side. Expect Australia to get off to a winning start.

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