Sri Lanka move in for kill against floundering Aussies

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Sri Lanka look to bounce back from a disastrous Test series when they take on England in the first One Day International. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

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    Mahela Jayawardene’s Sri Lankans are set to pinch the Commonwealth Bank ODI series from right under Australian noses. The series stands at 1-1 with the decider in Adelaide tomorrow.

    But the momentum is all with the tourists.

    To make life harder for the Australians, skipper Michael Clarke is an extremely doubtful starter with back and hamstring injuries. So too opening batsman David Warner with a groin problem that has been niggling for some time.

    Take them out, and Australia’s in real trouble against a side that was won four of their last six meetings in this series alone. It’s no mean feat for the Sri Lankans to beat the world number one ranked side so often on Australian soil.

    But the Sri Lankan’s have timed their finals run to perfection.

    The Australian’s have gone off the boil, and it’s very hard to fight back when rhythym and confidence are lost.

    That’s not an excuse, it’s a fact.

    Just take the two games so far in the final.

    Australian won the first at the Gabba by 15 runs, but it was the Sri Lankans who had the moral victory. To fight back from 6-144 with 20 overs to go chasing 322 for victory and only fall 15 shy was a magnificent effort from the lower order.

    And they took that impetus into last night’s second final at Adelaide to cruise home by eight wickets, chasing 272 with 34 deliveries up their sleeve.

    The win would have been even more comprehensive, and embarrassing, had the Sri Lankans not dropped six catches – all gettable.

    The Sri Lankan surge is best underlined by taking the two top scores out of each innings in both games.

    Take out Nuwan Kalusekara’s 73, and Upul Tharanga’s 60 in the first, and Tillakaratne Dilshan’s 106, and Jayawardene’s 80 in the second.

    That left a balance of 8-261 for Sri Lanka in the two games.

    Average 32.62.

    For Australia, take out Warner’s 163 and Matt Wade’s 64 in the first, and Clarke’s 117 and Warner’s 100 in the second.

    That left a balance of 10-138 for Australia in the two games.

    Average 13.80.

    There you have the stark Sri Lankan momentum: 32.62 to 13.80.

    The other stark reminder is how the Australian attack, so dominant this summer, has fallen away so alarmingly in this finals series.

    David Hussey, the most consistent batsman of the series, has also recorded the best bowling figures: 4-51 off 9.

    Shane Watson’s next best with 3-68 off 14.4, followed by Brett Lee’s 4-99 off 17.

    But then the crunch with James Pattinson 1-96 off 13, Xavier Doherty 0-94 off 19, Dan Christian 0-62 off 8, Clint McKay 0-51 off 9, and Ben Hilfenhaus 0-46 off 4.

    Those five bowlers translate to 1-349 in just two games.

    Barring a major form reversal, Sri Lanka should win tomorrow by the length of the straight.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Columnist

      March 7th 2012 @ 9:27am
      Brett McKay said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      interesting David that Nathan Lyon has been brought into the Aussie squad for tomorrow night (George Bailey has too, as cover for Clarke). I’m sure they haven’t bought Lyon into the squad for cover only, and he’ll almost certainly play. I think they’ve finally realised that taking the pace off the ball is the best tactic against SL and in Adelaide, and so I reckon one of Lee or Pattinson will make way..

      • March 7th 2012 @ 9:56am
        Matt F said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Was it poor tactics to have 3 quicks or just poor bowling all round? The 3 quicks actually had better figures then the medium/slower bowlers last night who all went at 6+ an over, though admittedly you could argue that the damage was already done by the time they came on to bowl. Whilst I personally would have liked to have seen a bit more variety with the bowling early on (perhaps opening with Doherty or D Hussey) I don’t think playing 3 quicks was the biggest problem (Watson and Christian are similar in pace to Mckay anyway.)

        When you consider that some of these players have been playing almost non-stop since the SL tour in August (even the players who aren’t regular international players have had a very crowded domestic season), I think it’s more a case of them needed a break to freshen up. Luckily for them they don’t have to leave for the WIndies until Friday……….

        • March 7th 2012 @ 2:10pm
          Brian said | March 7th 2012 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

          They are professionals and all International sides play heaps of cricket these days. The too tired excuse is not good enough, from memory neither Lee, Hilfenahus, Pattinson, McKay or Doherty even went to SL in August.

          • March 7th 2012 @ 2:40pm
            Matt F said | March 7th 2012 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

            Doherty and Pattinson were. Lee was injured (and is playing with injury now which seems stupid.) Even if they weren’t in the national team it was a very packed domestic schedule, especially in the few months before the BBL started. Each state played their first 6 SS matches i the first 8 weeks. That’s a lot of cricket. Throw in the WIndies tour and a few of the players will have gone for about 9 months with barely any time off. Given that the 5-6 months after that only involves 10 ODI’s and a T20 World Cup, and that the team had 4 or so months off before the SL tour, you have to question whether the schedule could have been spread out a bit better.

            Of course another reason could be that we’re playing injured players whilst SL aren’t. Clarke and Warner are both injured as is Lee. Watson and Pattinson played minimal matches before they were recalled after returning from injury, and they don’t look match fit. That’s not an excuse for the loss as SL are a very good ODI side (they did make the last world cup final after all) more of a criticism of the selections.It’s good to see that Pat Howard’s decree that players must be 100% fit in order to be picked is being followed…………………..

        • Columnist

          March 7th 2012 @ 3:17pm
          Brett McKay said | March 7th 2012 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

          Matt, it was possibly a bit of both, but certainly it was a poor show with the ball first and foremost. I say that one of Pattinson or Lee would make way for Lyon simply because they’re very similar bowlers, and that’s perhaps the poor tactic part.

          I guess the question is, is whether a 1 real quick + 1 med-fast + 2 med pacers + 2 finger spinners + Dave Hussey attack is going to be good enough.

          Perhaps it might be worth getting SL out of their comfort zone, and make them bat first??

          • March 7th 2012 @ 4:12pm
            Matt F said | March 7th 2012 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            I’d definately look to make them bat first, although that could be seen as a sign of mental weakness, which could give a big boost to SL, and if we’re using the same pitch for both games it could start to break up a litte bit.

            No doubt it was a poor showing with the ball, I was just making the point that the slower bowlers weren’t any better. Pattinson has been ruled out with a muscle strain so that would clear the way for Lyon, or Hilfenhaus i guess (shudder.) I was surprised when they dropped Mckay for the first final and kept Pattinson giving the reason of “team balance.” Like you, I think Lee and Pattinson are very similar and Mckay at least is a different style of bowler.

            We certainly appear to lack a genuine wicket taker. With Lee carrying an injury, Pattnson not match fit (and now injured) and Watson not at 100% either, there really isn’t much strike power. The likes of Doherty and Mckay seem to rely on getting their wickets by building pressure to draw poor shots then good balls so they aren’t very effective when the batsmen are scoring so easliy. I would have loved to have seen a Coulter-Nile or Mcdermott given a chance. They’re both young and talented but, more importantly, can bowl at the death and take wickets.

            Even a recall for Starc could have been a decent gamble. he’s very inconsistent but on his day he is capable of ripping through a line-up. He could just as easily get smashed, but sometimes you need to take risks.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 9:56am
      Aware said | March 7th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Serious questions have to be asked about the tactics of the Australians. Why did their batsmen go-slow, especially Warner and Watson? It meant that the Husseys had to virtually throw their wickets away to get the scoring rate up- it was always going to be a 300 + wicket. Someone needs to have a very close look at the way they played on Tuesday.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 10:45am
      Chaos said | March 7th 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

      ‘That left a balance of 10-138 for Australia in the two games. Average 13.80.’

      David bit unfair on the Aussie late middle order. When you’re coming in the 40th plus overs in hit time you can’t really compare them to the top order who had time to ‘get in’. Sri lanka’s middle order came in alot earlier in game one. I personally think averages are misleading.

      The strike rates of the top batsman and innings should tell a better story.

      As Warner’s ‘slow’ innings in the second game didn’t help. He did get a hundred but compare this to the strike rate of Clarke or the Sri lankans and you see the problem.

    • Roar Guru

      March 7th 2012 @ 11:32am
      Rabbitz said | March 7th 2012 @ 11:32am | ! Report

      Gee what surprise.

      Australia win the first final, then all of a sudden start batting slowly and Sri Lanka win, the second finals.

      Hey presto! Third Final!!

      Amazing how often it happens… At least it wasn’t the bookies I guess.

    • March 7th 2012 @ 12:30pm
      Jamal said | March 7th 2012 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

      I can’t believe that some people on here are blaming the batting tactics as the reason why Australia lost this game.

      If Australia had scored about 320, we probably would have still lost.

      The biggest problem right now is the bowling. 272 was still a competitive and defend-able total. The Sri Lankans still had 8 wickets + 34 balls up their sleeves.

      McKay, Watson and Christian are very similar bowlers. This is ok, but Christian and McKay have lost their way in the finals.
      Pattison has been found out a bit and cannot handle it when the pressure is put on.
      Brett Lee has been going well but still goes for a few.
      Doherty had a great start to the CB series, but has gotten poorer as series has continued.

      I would like to see David Hussey used more and maybe even Clarke himself.

      • March 7th 2012 @ 1:05pm
        Handles said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

        Clarke won’t be bowling for a while

      • March 7th 2012 @ 1:32pm
        Aware said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        “If Australia scored 320, we probably would have still lost.”

        320 was enough in Brisbane.

        • March 7th 2012 @ 1:37pm
          Jamal said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

          Bowling was better in Brisbane. Wickets had tumbled down to 2 or 3 left with 34 balls to go in Brisbane.

          The Adelaide the bowlers were taken to the cleaners and Sri Lanka made them look 2nd rate

    • March 7th 2012 @ 1:05pm
      Brendon said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      Pattinson not up to the standard of a finals series against a good Sri Lanka team.

      Warner’s s/r of 70 was too slow. While he scored another century he is still unsure of how to bat in ODI’s. While its easy to be critical of Warner’s low s/r David’s point of taking out the top 2 scores shows how unreliable the rest of the batsmen are. If Warner is slowing his scoring rate down because he needs to stay in then that a double blow to Australia. Inconsistent + slow scoring Warner.

      • March 7th 2012 @ 1:24pm
        Aware said | March 7th 2012 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        The Hussey’s are unreliable? Where’d you come up with that BS? Dave Hussey tops the run scorers or is close to it and Mike isn’t far back.

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