To fail having had the opposition at 8 for 107 chasing 240 is a massive confidence-sapper. Australia have now lost six internationals in a row since July, and three weeks from the first ball of the Ashes that’s a worrying position to be in.
More immediately, they must find a way to bounce back at the SCG, or Sri Lanka will win a series in Australia for the first time.
The Australians will be back under the leadership of Ricky Ponting, who missed Wednesday’s game to attend his grandmother’s funeral, and after their lacklustre bowling effort to Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga, don’t be surprised if there are changes to the attack.
Sri Lanka, for all their joy at achieving one of the most remarkable comeback wins in ODI history, know that they too have much to work on before the second game. Kumar Sangakkara said after the Melbourne triumph that he was disappointed with their fielding, and the incredible efforts of Mathews and Malinga should not mask some top-order worries. The shot selection from several experienced batsmen was poor, none more so than the ugly cross-batted swipe from Chamara Silva, early in his innings, that resulted in him being caught at mid-on off a top edge. There could be a couple of changes to the Sri Lankan side, despite the win, as they aim for a historic series victory down under.
Xavier Doherty made an impressive debut on Wednesday and after his first two overs had the remarkable figures of 3 for 3. He altered his pace and spin cleverly, collecting wickets with his skiddy arm ball as well as his more traditional turning delivery. Doherty should enjoy the Sydney conditions, and will be aiming to add to his World Cup credentials.
It’s extremely unusual for Lasith Malinga to be celebrated for his batting, but his maiden half-century was a key part of Sri Lanka’s opening win. However, it was easy to forget that he’d also done a fine job with the ball, keeping things tight if not exactly running through the batting order. He is known for his slingy action and speed, but his slower ball is particularly dangerous, as Shane Watson discovered at the MCG.
Ponting will come back and it is likely to be more-or-less a straight swap for the injured Shaun Marsh. Callum Ferguson is in the squad but it is hard to see him ousting any of the existing top six. Steven Smith hurt his back in the field during the series opener and was unable to bowl in the second half of the innings, and if he is rested, Nathan Hauritz would be the natural replacement. The selectors are also keen to see some new faces before the World Cup squad is chosen in early January, so it seems illogical to make the young fast man Mitchell Starc keep carrying the drinks. — Cricinfo.com