Preview- Defending champions Australia likely to be too strong for Sri Lanka
In the last five ODIs between Sri Lanka and Australia, Sri Lanka has just won one match – back in 2016 at Colombo. Australia has been dominating them comprehensively in the recent past, and things are unlikely to change when they meet in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter at the Kennington Oval. The two teams met in the warm-up match of the World Cup 2019 where Australia ended up winning comfortably by five wickets.
Defending champions Australia hence begin as favorites for this encounter against Sri Lanka who are still struggling for confidence. Aaron Finch’s Australia has all bases covered. Captain Finch, along with fellow opener Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Steven Smith and Shaun Marsh would be doing the bulk of the scoring for the top half of the batting order. Then there is Glen Maxwell who has matured as a batsman these past few years and can explode lower down the order.
Australia’s bowling too has a lot of firepowers. Fast bowler Pat Cummins has been in great form and would be itching to make early inroads in the Sri Lankan batting. Nathan Coulter-Nile could do a good job as well. Leg-spinner Adam Zampa has emerged as Australia’s match-winning bowler and would be eager to make an impact in the middle overs.
Sri Lanka would have to be more than their best to take this Australian team on. In the batting department, they will have to depend on the likes of Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, and captain Dimuth Karunaratne. While this isn’t a batting unit that will scare the Aussies, if Thisara goes on the song with some support from Angelo and Kusal, then Sri Lanka can challenge Australia.
Sri Lanka has the experience of Lasith Malinga in their bowling department, and he’s expected to carry a lot on his old yet strong shoulders. Seamers Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep may come into play if the ball seams around a bit. Jeevan Mendis might come in handy with his leg-spin, but he might struggle if the wicket dries up.
Pitch conditions and Sri Lanka vs Australia Prediction:
The highest total at the Kennington Oval is 398-5 by New Zealand v England in 2015. In the last few years the pitch here, like most other turfs in England, has become increasingly in favor of batsmen. Hence, the match between Australia and Sri Lanka at the World Cup is likely to be a high-scoring one.
If there is a cloud cover initially, then the seamers from both the sides will come into play. But eventually, the wicket should settle down and become more comfortable for the batsmen to play freely. Having a solid batting unit and a dependable bowling armory, Australia start as favorites for this clash. Sri Lanka would have to pull up something special to get past the defending champions.