By CricketCountry Staff
Melbourne: Mar 2, 2012
The CB series match between Australia and Sri Lanka was supposed to be a dead rubber and a practice game for the finals, but a stunning innings from Virat Kohli in the previous game has given this match a new context. The result of the game will decide which team will fight with Australia for the trophy in the finals.
A win for Sri Lanka (or even a tie/wash-out) will take them through to the finals, while a loss for them will make it an Australia vs India final.
Australia may have been the first team to qualify for the finals but it would be fair to say that Sri Lanka have been the best team of the tournament so far. After a couple of early losses, they bounced back and remained unbeaten in the next four, and it required a super-human effort from a resurgent Indian batting line up to break their momentum.
It is much more than a practice game for Australia. They started the series with a couple of victories but have struggled for consistency ever since. A loss at Melbourne will make it 3 in a row for Sri Lanka against Australia, which will be a massive mental advantage going into the finals. Australia’s top order has been consistently shaky in the series, making the batting line up heavily dependent on the middle order.
Australia: David Warner, Shane Watson(c), Peter Forrest, Michael Hussey, David Hussey, Matthew Wade(w), Daniel Christian, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene(c), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara(w), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thissara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath