The T20 series between Australia and Sri Lanka has just concluded, with Australia notching a 3-0 clean sweep of the island nation. Here are my thoughts from the series for both sides.
Warner 2.0 is a man on a mission
David Warner’s form in Test cricket may be waning, but his white-ball credentials will never be questioned. The opener looked unstoppable and was unbeaten in all three matches with two half centuries and a century.
At the MCG, he showed that he was willing to dig through a rough patch rather than slog his way out on a sluggish pitch. The pre-sandpaper Warner would never have done that in a T20 game. Pakistan’s bowlers pose more of a threat than the Sri Lankan bowlers but Warner’s form will keep Mohammad Amir and co a tad bit worried.
Malinga was not good enough as captain
From ball one, Lasith Malinga’s captaincy was poor this series. Kasun Rajitha had an off day with the ball in Adelaide yet Malinga kept on persisting with him. The result? Rajitha conceded 75 runs in his quota of four overs.
He had other bowling options in Dasun Shanaka (who only bowled one over that day) and Danushka Gunathilaka but his stubbornness proved very costly.
He is the Sri Lankan Unai Emery. Get Dasun Shanaka back as captain. He led the team brilliantly in their clean sweep of Pakistan and always looked for wickets rather than taking the defensive option.
Thisara Perera was sorely missed
Not having one of the strongest hitters of the cricket ball in the Sri Lankan squad is baffling. The balance of the Sri Lankan line-up was affected heavily with no Thisara Perera.
Their tail was too long in the first two games while in the third T20, Malinga didn’t have a proper fifth bowling option, relying on part-time offies by Shehan Jayasuriya.
Perera is a very destructive player who has improved immensely with bat and ball in the last two years. He understands his own game very well.
When Sri Lanka lands on Australian shores next year, the seam-bowling all-rounder has to be one of the 15 men on the plane to Melbourne.
Chris Green or Ashton Agar for the World Cup?
With Adam Zampa nearly locked in as Australia’s number one T20 spinner, we have a battle on our hands for the second spinner role.
With Glenn Maxwell’s ability to bowl a few overs of off spin (hopefully he recovers from his mental health issues soon and is back in Australian colours soon), the selectors will be looking at the bowling all-rounder who can bowl four overs of spin.
Ashton Agar has shown how handy he can be as the second spinner, but he doesn’t have the spot locked in. Chris Green’s form as a finisher with the bat and his ability to bowl at any stage of the innings as shown in franchise cricket lately keeps him in the selectors’ eyes.
Green should get a few games before the T20 World Cup to prove his worth before we can judge whether Green or Agar will be the bowling all-rounder in the final 15.
Young Lankan side gain experience
Yes, Sri Lanka were massively outplayed this series. But the experience they gain from this before they come to our shores again will be beneficial for them in 12 months’ time.
The Sri Lankan selectors need to show more faith in their team rather than chopping and changing every game. This Sri Lankan T20 side is more capable than what they have shown.
Should they show more intent with the bat and run between the wickets a bit harder, they will cause havoc.