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Sri Lanka vs Australia 5th ODI, Pallekele - Preview

Mathews injury a blow for Sri Lanka; Australia looks to end ODI series on a high note

Sri Lanka vs Australia 5th ODI, Pallekele - Preview - Cricket News
Having already claimed the series, Australia will look to extend their dominance with another win.
Having endured a whitewash in the Test series against Sri Lanka, Australia will look to make amends as it gears up for the fifth and final One-Day International in Pallekele on Sunday (September 4).

Australia won’t be able to achieve a clean sweep because Sri Lanka won the second ODI in Colombo by 82 runs, but a 4-1 scoreline can alleviate some of the pain and boost its confidence ahead of the two Twenty20 Internationals.

Sri Lanka has a tough task ahead of it. Losing Angelo Mathews, the skipper, to a calf tear he suffered during the fourth ODI is a telling blow. The home side has also rested a couple of players in order to bring in some fresh legs.

Thisara Perera, the allrounder, and Lakshan Sandakan, the left-arm spinner, have been replaced in the squad by Niroshan Dickwella and Dasun Shanaka, while Mathews’s replacement will be Upul Tharanga. Sri Lanka hasn't named a skipper yet, but in all likelihood, Dinesh Chandimal will be the one at the helm.

Meanwhile, Australia has lost Shaun Marsh and Nathan Coulter-Nile to injury, having earlier sent Steven Smith home to reduce the work load on the skipper. David Warner has been the leader in his place and so far, the left-hand opener has not been a disappointment although he would have liked to have made more runs. However, George Bailey, Aaron Finch, Matthew Wade and John Hastings have all been firing in unison, making the stand-in captain's job much easier.

Sri Lanka will surely miss Mathews's leadership, but the more pressing problem is finding a new opening pair in the wake of Tillakaratne Dilshan’s retirement. It tried out Dhananjaya de Silva and Avishka Fernando, but while Dhananjaya stroked his way to a classy 76, Fernando, the 18-year-old debutant, was out for naught. But Fernando is unlikely to be judged harshly as it's no small task facing up to Mitchell Starc, even for old pros.

What will please Sri Lanka is that Chandimal has been in good nick with scores of 80 not out, 48 and 102 on the three previous occasions before the fourth ODI. Kusal Mendis, too, has done reasonably well with two fifties to his name. With Australia learning from the mistakes committed in the Tests, a more cohesive effort is needed from Sri Lanka's batsmen to come away with a consolation win.

Teams (from)

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Lahiru Kumara, Avishka Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Niroshan Dickwella, Dilruwan Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dasun Shanaka, Amila Aponso.

Australia: David Warner (capt), George Bailey, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), Adam Zampa.

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