Australia’s ostensible home advantage against Sri Lanka was diminished at the MCG on Friday night by two factors: the unsettled and makeshift nature of the Twenty20 team with the Test team concurrently preparing in India, and the enormous amount of support for Sri Lanka from a large Melbourne expatriate population. Both factors will again be at play on Sunday, with a third thrown into the mix – Kardinia Park’s debut as an international venue in Geelong, a little more than an hour’s drive to Melbourne’s south-west. While the acting captain Aaron Finch knows the venue well as a product of nearby Colac, others will be less familiar with Geelong and also each other.
As Michael Klinger put it: “Sri Lanka came straight from playing T20s and one-dayers in South Africa and we had a couple of Sheffield Shield matches since the Big Bash ended. But in this day and age you adapt quickly to the change in formats. There’s no excuse, we’ve got two days now to turn it around pretty quick and get a win in Geelong.”
Sri Lanka themselves need more improvement, particularly in terms of how tidy they are in the field. Several chances went down at the MCG, something it must be said the hosts did not take full advantage of. Partly this was because Finch, Michael Klinger and Travis Head were unable to go on from starts, partly because Lakshan Sandakan and Seekkuge Prasanna bowled thriftily and well in the middle overs. Adam Zampa also delivered a fine spell when Sri Lanka chased, but Ashton Turner was underused, and Head not called upon at all. More ruthless batting and more agile use of spin will be vital to an Australian recovery from their opening defeat. (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)