Sri Lanka and Australia will clash in the second of the five-match One Day International cricket (ODI) series on June 16 at the Pallekele Stadium, Kandy.
Aaron Finch will lead the side and they have retained most of the players that featured in the T20I series.
Dasum Shanaka will continue to lead the Lankan side.
In the first ODI, Sri Lanka had posted a formidable 300 for 7 wickets, batting first.
After a 115 run opening partnership between Pathum Nissanka and Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis took over with a brilliant 86 not out.
The final impetus was provided by all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga who smashed five fours off the 49th over and hit 37 off 19 balls.
The Pallekele pitch is known to assist spinners and not surprisingly, Ashton Agar impressed with 2 for 49.
Marnus Labuschagne picked out two tail-end wickets and finished with 2 for 19 from his three overs.
In reply, Australia reached the target thanks to useful contributions by Steve Smith (53), Aaron Finch (44) and Marcus Stoinis (44).
However, the decisive innings was played by Glenn Maxwell who smashed 80 off just 51 balls.
Australia reached 282 in 42.3 overs losing 8 eight wickets.
The target was reduced owing to the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Head to Head record
The two sides have played each other 98 times in ODIs.
The men in yellow have 62 victories to their credit.
Sri Lanka has won a mere 32 games.
Four games played between the two sides have yielded no result.
However, Sri Lanka has a formidable home record.
Off the 30 ODIs played in Sri Lanka, the hosts have won 14 games over the Kangaroos, whilst the visitors have won 13.
Three games have ended without a result.
The home soil advantage
Sri Lanka is a tough opponent at home.
They have a great record even against the top teams.
Let’s look at what happened in Sri Lanka’s last two home assignments.
In September last year, they defeated South Africa 2-1 at home.
Next, they hosted Zimbabwe in January this year, where they again won by 2-1.
The Pallekele pitch is slow and dusty and aids spinners. Sri Lanka know how to eke out wins using the home conditions and can never be taken lightly.
Venue and pitch trends
In the last five ODI games played here, the sides batting first have won easily.
If conditions are cloudy, fast bowlers do well and get the ball to move.
The wicket offers lots of assistance to the spinners as the ball grips the surface and turns sharply.
Rain is likely.
We expect the side winning the toss to bowl first on this track.
Marcus Stoinis is one of the most under-rated players in the shorter format.
However, he is rated highly by the Australian board.
Even the first ODI showed that as long as Stoinis is around, Australia always have a chance.
Also, he is handy with bat and ball and can be a key impact player for Australia.
Wanindu Hasaranga is one of the world’s top T20 bowlers and can be relied to pick up wickets.
Though his numbers in ODIs aren’t as impressive as T20s, Hasaranga is a fast improving player who has added an extra dimension to his cricket by becoming an explosive finisher.
He was the star performer in the 1st ODI with 4 wickets and a blazing 37 off just 19 balls.
Australia has a potent pace attack but that gets totally nullified on Sri Lanka’s slow pitches.
The Aussie spin attack is efficient but not very threatening.
As a result, the Sri Lankan batters will fancy their chances to post a big total.
If Sri Lanka win the toss, they will most likely bowl first an then put the Aussie batters under pressure using their spinners.
In the 1st OI, they went with 3 top line spinners – Theekshana, Hasaranga and Wellalage.
Wellalage is a left arm slow orthodox spinner who can be difficult to get away.
Hasaranga and Theekshana are both wicket-taking bowlers who can hurt Australia.
Admittedly, the Aussies have a powerful batting line-up with the likes of Warner, Maxwell, Stoinis and Smith.
But our prediction is, if Sri Lanka win the toss, they will go on to win the match.