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Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Preview: Hosts eye maiden series win after tampering scandal

The game is a chance for the Aussies to restore pride in their cricket.

Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Following their dismal Test series against India, Australia managed to roll over Sri Lanka in the first Test at The Gabba in Brisbane by an innings and 40 runs. Tim Paine and Co have had a forgettable time ever since the ball-tampering scandal as Australia haven’t won any international series in the previous 10 months. However, the Aussies showed spark in the last match and comfortably emerged victorious.

The next encounter at the Manuka Oval in Canberra that gets underway tomorrow isn’t a mere game for the hosts. Rather, it’s an opportunity for them to win their maiden international series since the Newlands Test and restore some pride back into their cricket. The Lankans, on the other hand, are in a poorer state and needs some source of inspiration in order for them to draw level in the series.

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Their bowling did reasonably well in Brisbane that included a five-wicket haul from right-armer Suranga Lakmal. Nevertheless, the batting just couldn’t survive the heat generated by the Aussie speedsters, especially 25-year-old Pat Cummins, who walked away with the Player of the Match award for his 10-wicket haul. They are low on confidence and winning the last Test won’t be a cakewalk for them.

Playing Combination

Australia

The hosts have already announced their playing eleven and its an unchanged one from the previous match. Harris and Burns continue to open with the experienced Usman Khawaja at number three. Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head are the men in the middle. Patterson and Richardson wouldn’t want to disappoint. Nathan Lyon’s role as the lone spinner is expected to be critical as well.

Playing XI

Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson, Tim Paine (C & WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon

Sri Lanka

The Islanders may give Kasun Rajitha an opportunity in place of Lahiru Kumara. Karunaratne and Thirimanne need to take their team off to good starts. Dhananjaya de Silva, skipper Chandimal, Kusal Mendis and Roshen Silva are the men in the middle. Rajitha will partner Chameera and Lakmal in the fast bowling department. Dilruwan Perera is the sole specialist spin bowler in the lineup.

Probable XI

Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal (C), Kusal Mendis, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (WK), Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha

Focus will be on

Tim Paine (Australia)

Though he led the team to a resounding triumph in the earlier game, the 34-year-old had a rather disappointing match as a batsman. Australia batted only once in the match and Paine managed to back a golden duck. Suranga Lakmal accounted for his wicket after coming to bat at number eight. He would be needing to lead his team from the front and also get back to form with the willow in hand.

Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)

Chandimal had a rather forgettable match and he flattered to deceive in all the departments. He was speculated to be one of Sri Lanka’s batting mainstays, but in both innings, he couldn’t even cross the 10-run mark. Jhye Richardson and Pat Cummins nipped him out. With his backs to the wall, the experienced campaigner has a daunting task ahead of him in the final encounter.

Head to Head

Played – 30 | Australia won – 18 | Sri Lanka won – 4 | Draw – 8

Stat Attack

79– Runs Dimuth Karunaratne needs to complete 4000 runs in Tests

61 – Runs Tim Paine needs to complete 1,000 runs in Tests.

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD

Match Timings – 5:00 IST; 10:30 local

Get the latest Cricket News and updates, Match PredictionsFantasy Cricket Tips and lots more on CricTracker.com.

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