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The head-to-head record between these two teams in T20Is is neck-and-neck, with Australia having the slightest of advantages. They have beaten Sri Lanka nine times, while the Lions have emerged victoriously on eight occasions. However, home advantage is expected to play a massive factor in this series, while confidence will also be high in the Australian camp after their recent achievements. Hence, the hosts are the outright favourites for this match.
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Australia: Josh Inglis, Aaron Finch (c), Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa.
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dasun Shanaka (c), Dushmantha Chameera, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara
The Australian national cricket team is currently going through a very weird phase of chaos and tranquillity. In terms of performances on the pitch, there is hardly any team who have done a better job than the Aussies in the last five months or so.
They lifted the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup around three months ago, and then went on to win the Ashes by a convincing 4-0 margin. However, there has been off-the-field controversy following Justin Langer’s decision to resign from his position as the head coach, with many former players expressing their dissatisfaction at how Cricket Australia (CA) treated the T20 World Cup-winning coach. Assistant coach Andrew McDonald will work as the interim head coach in this series whilst the search for a permanent replacement is ongoing.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will face an uphill battle against a formidable team at unfavourable conditions. They are coming into this series on the back of a hard-fought 2-1 ODI series win against Zimbabwe, where Craig Ervine’s team gave the Lankans a run for their money. Dasun Shanaka’s team boasts of two quality spinners in Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, but it remains to be seen how effective they can be on Australian soil.
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Barring a few changes, Australia have named a full-strength squad for this series. Among the absentees, opening batter David Warner and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh have been given some much-deserved time off, while Travis Head will only be available for the fourth match owing to his domestic commitments with South Australia. Josh Inglis and Ben McDermott will fight for the opening slot, while it will be interesting to see whether interim head coach Andrew McDonald goes with an extra spin option in Ashton Agar or a pace alternative in Moises Henriques.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have made wholesale changes to their squad which will feature nine players who were not part of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup roster. After having their ban revoked by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka were named in the squad, but the former recently returned a positive diagnosis for COVID-19. In his absence, Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka are likely to form the opening pair.
Glenn Maxwell: Since David Warner will not feature in this series, the onus will be on Glenn Maxwell to play the big shots for Australia. The 33-year-old all-rounder has scored 1844 runs in T20I cricket at a strike rate of over 150, while he is also handy with the ball and his 33 T20I wickets can testify to that statement. In his last match, which was a Big Bash League tie against Hobart Hurricanes, Maxwell played a blistering knock of unbeaten 154 runs.
Wanindu Hasaranga: Much of Sri Lanka’s success in this series will hinge on the performances of Wanindu Hasaranga. The 24-year-old has established himself as the Lankans’ kingpin with his consistent performances. He has picked up 52 wickets in 33 T20I matches at an average of only 13.71, while he also has scored 319 runs at a strike rate of 119.92. In the recently-concluded Lanka Premier League, Hasaranga picked up 11 wickets in 10 matches and also scored 89 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 185.41.
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|Australia vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I – Information|
|Teams||Australia vs Sri Lanka|
|Location||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney|
|Time||Friday, 11th February, 1:40 PM IST/8:10 AM GMT|
|How to watch||Sony Sports Network (India), Fox Sports (Australia), BT Sport (United Kingdom), Willow TV (USA), SuperSport (South Africa), ATN Cricket Plus (Canada), Sky Sport NZ (New Zealand)|
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