Australia face Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the first of a three-match series. Follow the live scores and blog of this Twenty20 from 7:20pm (AEDT).
The Australians are still seeking to make an impression at international level in the shortest format of the game, with the ICC only ranking them at No.5, while the tourists are even lower, coming in at No.8.
For a side that has been at the top of the world in both Test and ODI formats for 30 years, the home team’s lack of success in T20 cricket is a matter of much frustration. In six T20 World Cups, they have made it through to just one final.
Perhaps the blame lies solely with Cricket Australia. This series is a prime example, being scheduled while Australia’s leading players are in India preparing for a four-match Test series, which begins a day after the conclusion of the third T20 match.
However, with so many stars missing, some of the best players from the recent Big Bash League have a chance to demonstrate what they can do on the international stage.
All three of the leading run scorers in the BBL get a chance: Ben Dunk, Michael Klinger and Aaron Finch – the latter being the skipper for the series.
The BBL’s leading wicket taker, Sean Abbott, who claimed 20 victims, has been omitted, although the champion Perth Scorchers pair of Jhye Richardson and Andrew Tye received a call-up.
Australia defeated Sri Lanka in their most recent series, which took place in Sri Lanka in early September 2016. The tourists won the two fixtures by 85 runs and four wickets respectively. Prior to that, Sri Lanka had won the previous five T20Is between the two countries.
Sri Lanka have travelled to Australia directly from South Africa, where they were thrashed in the ODI series, but they managed to record a 2-1 success against the Proteas in the T20Is. Although it should be noted that the South Africans rested most of their leading players for those fixtures.
Be sure to join The Roar for our live coverage and scores of the first T20 between Australia and Sri Lanka from 7:40pm (AEDT).