Australia have taken an unassailable lead three matches into this five-match T20 series, but there is still plenty for both sides to play with the T20 World Cup on Australian soil later this year. Will Sri Lanka find a way to get on board at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Or will Australia prove too strong once again? Read on for our full Australia vs Sri Lanka 4th T20 preview and prediction:
Australia vs Sri Lanka 4th T20 Preview and Prediction
Series So Far
Australia started the series with a fairly comprehensive win thanks more to their bowling than their batting – though Ben McDermott did score a maiden international 50 and Marcus Stoinis 30 from 17 – as the visitors struggled to contend with the pace and bounce on offer at the SCG. That has rather set the pattern for the series. Sri Lanka did manage to force a super over in the second match thanks to some fine lower-order hitting, but were undone there by superb bowling from Josh Hazlewood.
They also suffered thanks to some poor fielding in the third match at Manuka Oval in Canberra. In the end, however, they simply did not post enough runs in that match, managing only 121 in the first innings on an admittedly difficult surface. Australia, despite losing opener McDermott to a golden duck, were able to chase that down relatively comfortably, reaching the target with six wickets still in hand and 19 balls to spare.
With the series now wrapped up, several of Australia’s best are being rested for the forthcoming tour of Pakistan including the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. Ashton Agar may well open again alongside McDermott, with Aaron Finch coming in at three and Glen Maxwell at number four. That will see Josh Inglis bat at five, with Stoinis in at six and Matthew Wade at seven. Bowlers Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson and Adam Zampa will round out the XI.
Sri Lanka will also be missing several players. Danushka Gunathilaka will open alongside Pathum Nissanka, with Charith Asalanka the next man in. At number four, Kusal Mendis was scratchy in Canberra, but should be improved with a match under his belt. Keeper-batter will bat five with captain Dasun Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne moved up the order to six and seven respectively in Wanindu Hasaranga’s absence. Jeffrey Vandersay, Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana and Shiran Fernando will complete the side.
The pitch at the MCG should be easier to bat on than the surface at the Manuka Oval. How much that will actually help Sri Lanka is unclear. There are some fine players in the Sri Lankan squad but, especially in these conditions, they look outgunned by Australia. They may also find it comparatively difficult to clear the vast boundaries at the MCG without the sort of power-hitters that the host’s possess. Australia may be without some stars, but they should still have the beating of Sri Lanka here.
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