A thoroughly enjoyable Commonwealth Bank Series comes to an end on Thursday and Betfair’s Andrew Hughes thinks Sri Lanka will clinch a deserved victory.
With the team due to fly out to the Caribbean this week, Michael Clarke will be resting his hamstring and Peter Forrest will return to the middle order. Australia’s bowling in both finals has been disappointing and with James Pattinson out injured, they may replace him with a second spinner, Nathan Lyon, rather than going back to Ben Hilfenhaus.
If Angelo Mathews is still not fit, Sri Lanka will stick with the extra batsman at number seven. That would leave them no room to play Sachithra Senanayake, but Tillakaratne Dilshan did an admirable job with the ball last time and they may feel they can manage without the second specialist spinner. Lasith Malinga is carrying a groin strain, but is expected to be fit.
Venue and Conditions
Tuesday’s second final was also held in Adelaide and Sri Lanka had no trouble chasing down Australia’s total of 271. We should expect another slow but true surface on which batsmen can prosper, providing they show patience. Accuracy is the key for the bowlers, although spinners will get some help, particularly towards the evening. Sri Lanka have won the last two finals games they’ve played at this venue.
Batting first on a flat Adelaide wicket, Australia had the opportunity to seal the series on Tuesday. But their total was sub-par and their wayward bowling allowed Sri Lanka to stroll to victory. Their quicker bowlers have struggled in both finals, with only Brett Lee and Shane Watson offering occasional control.
The absence of Michael Clarke will also give Sri Lanka a batting advantage. With Kapugedera at seven and Upul Tharanga at six, they bat deeper than the home side and are better suited to the slow Adelaide pitches than the faster Brisbane track on which the first final was played.
Sri Lanka have been the most consistent team in this tournament whilst Australia have only impressed intermittently. Yet despite all the evidence that the tourists are the better side, the market still has Australia as strong favourites to win this final and at odds of 2.28 it doesn’t take a genius to see that the value lies with Sri Lanka.
After a slow start, David Warner is in sublime form, with consecutive centuries that showed admirable poise and maturity. With Watson a bit hit and miss at the moment and both the Husseys having a quiet couple of games, Warner is the obvious candidate to top score for Australia at 4.7.
Sri Lanka do bat deep, but with the big three in form, those lower down may not get much of a chance to show what they can do. Dilshan top scored last time, but Kumar Sangakkara finished with an unbeaten half-century and is in the most consistent form, averaging 87 in his last four innings. He should be backed at 4.5 or better.
Adelaide is a batting-friendly venue and there were three centuries scored there in Tuesday’s game. We can expect plenty more runs on Thursday and it makes sense to back ‘Over 82.5 Runs’ in the Highest Individual Score market at 2.0 or better.
Back Sri Lanka to beat Australia at 2.28