Sri Lanka will take a lot of confidence from their performance having won without Hasaranga. The successful use of Dhananjaya, particularly in the powerplay to Australia’s openers, is a blueprint they will surely repeat again in this series. They do need more returns with the bat though as their entire top eight reached double figures but no one kicked on to make more than 36.
Australia are also frustrated that their top order were unable to kick on in Pallekele. David Warner and Smith both played well but made errors at important times. Australia vice-captain Alex Carey noted ahead of game three that the top order was keen to take the game deeper and produce bigger partnerships. They are also keen to sharpen up in the field after two untidy performances in the first two ODIs. But Australia bowled well in game two with debutant Matthew Kuhnemann producing a fine display after he was called in to replace Ashton Agar.
(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka could well go unchanged into game three if Hasaranga is still unavailable due to a groin strain. Their well-balanced attack troubled Australia and gave Dasun Shanaka options but the batting does still look a little vulnerable. They could bring in Bhanuka Rajapaksa, leave out Vandersay, and use Dhananjaya’s full quota of overs. But it seems unlikely.
Sri Lanka (possible): 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Dhananjaya de Silva, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka (capt), 7 Chamika Karunaratne, 8 Dunith Wellalage, 9 Dushmantha Chameera, 10 Jeffrey Vandersay, 11 Maheesh Theekshana
Australia (possible): 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Steven Smith/Travis Head, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Cameron Green, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Swepson, 10 Matthew Kuhnemann, 11 Josh Hazlewood
Rain could play a part again with both games in Pallekele interrupted. There is a stray thunderstorm forecast for the afternoon. A fresh pitch at R Premadasa Stadium might not take as much turn as the surface in Pallekele but the spinners should still play a part.
“We lost wickets at crucial times and just couldn’t get a partnership of any real substance. So we will reflect on that. We’re at a new venue so we’ll take all the information in as best we can today and when we get into it tomorrow.”
Alex Carey speaking about what Australia need to improve on ahead of the 3rd ODI in Colombo