As the inexperienced Australian team, with three debutants, and George Bailey at the helm of the affairs in ODIs for the first time pummeled the nearly full strength Sri Lanka side by 107 runs at the MCG on Saturday, not many were surprised. And if they repeat the feat at Adelaide in the second ODI, the new look Australian team would definitely be sending out some strong warning signals to the cricketing fraternity.
A team without Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner, Michael Hussey and Matthew Wade was expected to put up a strong fight against a Sri Lankan side that somehow becomes a force to reckon with in the limited-overs format. But the Aussie batting line-up, lead by debutant Phil Hughes, who became the first Australian to score a century on debut, put the Lankan ‘diverse’ bowling attack to the sword, before the Oz bowlers dismantled the visitors’ batting line-up with clinical precision.
Going into Adelaide, Hughes will be booming with confidence, whereas the other two debutants, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja, will be looking to the showcase their best. With Warner-Watson combination working rather well for Australia in the recent years, Finch and Hughes’ performances at the top will be scrutinized heavily and Khawaja would be feeling the pressure making the Ricky Ponting slot his own.
For Sri Lanka, the only positive to come out of the 1st ODI was their brightest future prospect Dinesh Chandimal’s level headed 73 off 95 balls, but even his is in doubt to play at Adelaide owing to a hamstring injury he picked while batting at MCG. This would mean that the Islanders would be using their fourth wicketkeeper of the tour giving 22-year-old Kushal Perera his maiden ODI cap. Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis, both of whom enjoyed a lot of success in the ODI format have been ineffective in the recent past and the visitors would be hoping that these two regain their lost touch at the Adelaide Oval.
Even in the Australian camp, Mitchell Starc is ruled out of the second ODI and possibly from the ODI series as well due to sore calf. Even though all of their pace bowlers broke down at some point or the other during this summer with the latest being Starc, Australia do not seem to be in a spot of bother as far as their bowling is concerned. 21-year-old South Australian Kane Richardson is drafted in as a cover for Starc and the Adelaide Strikers star could be handed a debut on home ground on Sunday.
In the nine matches played between the teams at the Adelaide Oval, the home team has triumphed seven times as opposed to two wins by Sri Lanka.
Australia : 1 Phillip Hughes, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 George Bailey (captain), 5 David Hussey, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Ben Cutting/Kane Richardson, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.
Sri Lanka : 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Mahela Jayawardene (captain), 4 Lahiru Thirimanne, 5 Angelo Mathews, 6 Kushal Perera (wicketkeeper), 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Ajantha Mendis.