After registering the biggest T20I win at Adelaide Oval, hosts Australia will look to maintain their supremacy as they take on Sri Lanka in the second game of three-match series at the Gabba on October 30. With an emphatic 134-run win, Aaron Finch’s men began a home summer and their preparations for the T20 World Cup, which will be played exactly after 12 months in their backyard, in style.
David Warner’s unbeaten 100 off 56 on his 33rd birthday guided Australia to post a mammoth total of 233 for two in 20 overs. The southpaw, who had a very regrettable Ashes campaign, scoring just 95 runs off 10 innings in England earlier this year, marked his T20I comeback in style. The left-handed opener wreaked havoc against the Sri Lankan pacers and proved that he’s still the undisputed king of T20Is. His remarkable ton consisted of 10 fours and four sixes, including century stands with the skipper Finch and Glenn Maxwell.
On the other hand, Lasith Malinga’s men were completely outplayed by the Aussies as both the batting and bowling departments failed to deliver in the opening game. Lakshan Sandakan and Dasun Shanaka were the only two bowlers who were successful in scalping wickets for the visitors. Moreover, Kasun Rajitha bowled the most expensive spell in the T20I history as he ended the first T20I with the figures of 75/0 off his 4 overs.
It is going to be a tough road ahead for Malinga and Co. as they are yet to face the challenge of Steve Smith, who is also raring to mark his T20I comeback for the Aussies. We saw the best of Smith in the longest format of the game, and he will want to improve on that T20I record. Can Malinga’s men derail the Aussie batting juggernaut? Or is it going to be a cakewalk for the hosts at the Gabba?
Sri Lanka’s bowling is perhaps hinged too massively on one man; captain Lasith Malinga, who is the most experienced player in the current Sri Lankan setup. It will be his responsibility to get the early breakthrough for his team in the form of David Warner, who would look to continue his blazing form. Taking home advantage in the context, the Aussie southpaw has an edge here. However, it would be interesting to see how Malinga tackles the threat of Warner at the Gabba.
In Mitchell Starc’s absence, Pat Cummins will lead Australia’s bowling unit in the second T20I. The right-arm pacer has been in a good form and will look to replicate his performance from the first T20I to help his team take 2-0 in the three-match series. Facing him will be Kusal Mendis, who failed to deliver in the opening game. However, the 24-year-old opener can score big and give the team a flying start. Earlier in September, he scored as many as 105 runs in two outings, including one half-century against New Zealand. Can the Sri Lankan opener help his team to stay alive in the series?
Nuwan Pradeep was the most economical bowler for Sri Lanka in the first T20I as he conceded only 28 runs in four overs. However, he went wicket-less at Adelaide Oval. The 33-year-old pacer will have to be wary of the Maxwell threat. Maxwell, who has been in a red hot form will look to help his team to seal the first home series of the season. Removing middle-order batsmen early in the form of Maxwell will be Pradeep’s responsibility. It would be interesting to see with what tactics he takes the field at the Gabba in the second T20I along with his captain on October 30 (Wednesday).
Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Perera (wk), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga (capt), Nuwan Pradeep
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Billy Stanlake, Ashton Turner, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Of course, hosts Australia will begin as hot favourites once again. With Steve Smith and David Warner returning to the squad, Australia appears a lot more threatening and keeping the T20I World Cup in focus, they are going to take each match seriously. So, Australia are likely to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in this three-match series against Sri Lanka.