Plenty has changed since the last time these two sides met in the Commonwealth
Bank Series. Leading into their last meeting, both teams had had close finishes
against India, and both were on the bitter side of it. However, this time though,
Australia and Sri Lanka both are back in form and have scored impressive
wins over India. The two sides also look in commanding position to qualify for
Australia scored a comfortable 110-run win over India but there have been developments
off the field since then that have taken the limelight. Ricky Ponting, stand-in
captain for the last two matches, has been axed following his dismal run, and
now the leading run-scorer has conceded himself to the fact that his ODI career
is over. Michael Clarke returns to lead the side after nursing his injury.
Ponting's replacement though will be all-rounder Shane Watson who missed
most of the season through a calf injury. Watson has been the star performer
for Australia in the past couple of years and will provide added value
at the top of the order. In the bowling department, Mitchell Starc's ragged
performances have cost him his place while Ryan Harris has been recalled in
to the squad.
Click for Live Score Card of Australia Vs Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka piled up a similar total versus India but there margin of victory
was 51-runs, albeit a comfortable one nonetheless. The batsmen, slow to strike
form at the beginning of the tournament, are now coming good and should be warning
signs for the opposition. Lahiru Thirimanne top scored with 62 while the openers
as well Angelo Mathews' late strikes ensured that they remained on track for
a big score. The bowlers too delivered an impressive performance, with Thissara Perera polishing the tail with four wickets. Nuwan Kulasekara's ability
to pick up wickets will once again be critical.
Sri Lanka can go top of the table with a win at Hobart. Given the way they have
performed in the last two matches, the possibility of this happening should not
be ruled out.