David Warner will want to come back stronger in the second ODI, after getting out cheaply in the first © AFP
David Warner will want to come back stronger in the second ODI, after getting out cheaply in the first © AFP

Plenty of theatrics and drama, but Australia, after a disastrous Test series whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka, managed to cross the line in the first ODI against the hosts at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo with 3 wickets in hand. A close win, not as close as Steven Smith would have liked, gave Australia a 1-0 lead into the five-ODI series. Angelo Mathews’ side, despite consisting of a horde of spinners, could not prevent an Australian side who were still recovering from the spin nightmares of Pallekele and Galle. Relying heavily on Aaron Finch’s and Smith’s half-centuries, Australia had somehow, put aside their past, but only after the game had seen some fantastic battles. With the second ODI promising to be another thrilling contest, here are some decisive clashes to look out for. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Sri Lanka vs Australia 2016, 2nd ODI at Colombo

Pitch/Surface vs Runs: Having posted a modest total of 227 on the board, Sri Lanka failed to defend the runs. That, after Mathews had said at the toss, “I wanted to bat first anyway, put runs on the board. The surface will get worse and worse.” Later Finch also termed it ‘poor’. The surface did actually become tough to score on as the game progressed further. James Faulkner had made merry on the Premadasa track while trying to remove the pace off the ball. Mathews’ spinners could not live up to the expectations of their captain and hence Sri Lanka had to deal with a loss. If the pitch is a similar one in the next game, it might again not be a high-scoring game but a close encounter can still be expected. READ: Sri Lanka vs Australia, 2nd ODI: Likely XI for Angelo Mathews & Co

Australia vs Spin: No matter how Australia fought and how they tackled spin in the first ODI, their faceoff against spin, will always be something to watch out for. With almost six spin-bowling options Sri Lanka had employed against them, they still won showing their determination for their first win since they landed on the island. Having said that, there were a few beauties bowled by the Lankans to which they had no answers. Milinda Siriwardana and Amila Aponso bowled some rippers which led to some helpless smiles by George Bailey and Smith.

Mitchell Starc vs Sri Lanka: Easily Australia’s No. 1 bowler, Starc became the fastest to reach 100 ODI wickets when he sent Dhananjaya de Silva back to the pavilion. In an era when left-arm bowlers are the in-thing, Starc has rose to become the best among them. His tremendous pace, intensity and ability has brought him wickets even on dead pitches and that needs to be acknowledged. Even when the Australian spinners were struggling in the Tests, Starc was a threat to the Lankans and he ended as the second-highest wicket-taker in the series, next to only Rangana Herath. His records will only get better, but for now he is a huge threat for Sri Lanka.

David Warner vs Sub-continent rough patch: David Warner’s poor tally of runs in the last eight ODIs in Asia has brought down his average at 26.25. His scores read, 24, 5, 24, 21, 43, 29, 56 and 8. Such numbers certainly don’t fit someone of a caliber of Warner. He perhaps, needs to spend more time at the crease and the runs will surely come. Having had a fine Indina Premier League (IPL) 2016, where he led Sunrisers Hyderabad to a win, Warner surely knows how to approach spin and the adjustments he needs to make to score runs in the sub-continent. The second ODI at Colombo might just be the right time for him to get back to form and become a threat to the opposition that he is known to be.

Aaron Finch vs Thisara Perera: Finch, an integral part of Australia’s limited overs team, in the first ODI played another valuable knock at the top of the order that laid the foundation for the batsmen to follow and perhaps even made it easier for them to get the remaining runs. His ability to score runs quickly might definitely be a worrying factor for Mathews and he will have to stop him from getting Australia off to flyers. Thisara Perera, might well be given the new ball, to get that breakthrough and therefore a key battle awaits. Perera bowled just five overs in the first ODI, but will have to bowl in the first 10 overs and look for early wickets.

(Karan Dewana reporter with CricketCountry, loves following and playing sports. He is a Team India fan and loves winning. Follow him on his twitter handle @karan13dewan)