Sitting pretty in the top section of the points table, Australia will look to consolidate their favourable position when they take on lowly Sri Lanka in Match 20 of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 in London on Saturday, 15 June.
The Oval, London
2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Match 20
Saturday, 15 June; 10.30am local, 09.30am GMT
With three wins from four matches, Australia increasingly look like strong contenders for a spot in the final four, but these are still early days and they will want to keep the foot on the pedal when they take on Sri Lanka at the Oval to build on that early advantage.
The good thing for Australia is that they've managed to win most of their games despite, seemingly, not hitting maximum potential. But the good news for them is that pieces have begun falling in place.
With David Warner batting with characteristic fluency for his century in the match against Pakistan, Australia's top-order suddenly looks markedly more formidable, while the middle-order has been in good form to begin with.
The bowling has a well-rounded look to it as well. The one issue for Australia, though, is in the spin department. Adam Zampa has been inconsistent and got the axe in the previous game. Glenn Maxwell was entrusted with bulk of the slower bowling duties in his absence, but was expensive. Aaron Finch's left-arm spin reaped wickets, but Australia will know they can't keep relying on the part-timers to fire. Perhaps, we might see Nathan Lyon come in at the Oval?
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, are placed fifth on the points table with one victory and a couple of washouts. In their two completed games, they've not looked a very challenging side, but could change perceptions about their chances with a solid performance against Australia.
It's in the batting department that they need most work as they've been bowled out for measly scores of 136 and 201 so far. Dimuth Karunaratne, the skipper, and Kusal Perera have been among the runs, but they need more contributors, and fast.
David Warner (Australia): So great is the left-handed opener's reputation that there were questions raised off his form after he scored two fifties from his first three innings this tournament, owing to a slightly underwhelming strike-rate. He put even those doubts to rest with a sublime 111-ball 107 against Pakistan in testing conditions. His characteristic shots were back and he moved freely – one can expect him to make a lot of runs this tournament.
Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka): The seam-bowling all-rounder has plenty to offer with both bat and ball in ODI cricket, but it is with the bat that team really needs him to find consistency. A naturally attacking batsman, Perera might want to consider tuning down the aggression for a more stable role given Sri Lanka's woes with the bat. If he gets things right, it will add depth to the team's batting.
Conditions: Things should be fairly bright at the Oval on Saturday although clouds will make appearances every now and then. A few showers can be expected too, but we should still get a game in. The pitch has been a good one for batting, and there's no reason to believe that will change.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon
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