Sri Lanka host Australia in key series ahead of 2023 World Cup

Both teams have been starved of 50-over cricket of late and will be looking to use this five-match series as good preparation for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in India.

However, the five ODIs are not a part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.

The hosts have included Under 19 World Cup breakout star Dunith Wellalage in their squad and it will be interesting to see if the young all-rounder gets the chance against the world-class Australia line-up.

Sri Lanka will also be buoyed by their victory in the final T20I of their recent three-game series against Australia as skipper Dasun Shanaka found form with a hard-hitting half-century.

Australia have been dealt a recent blow with injuries to key players Mitchell Starc (finger) and Mitch Marsh (calf) and the duo will be sidelined for the opening two matches of the series, while young all-rounder Cameron Green will not be used with the ball during those games as the Aussies manage his workload ahead of the Test series.

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That means more overs for part-timers like Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, while Test skipper Pat Cummins is expected to play a role during the ODI series alongside fellow quicks Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson.

A hamstring injury to Kane Richardson will see the tall right-armer miss the entire series, with fellow seamer Scott Boland drafted into Australia’s squad.

The opening two matches of the series will take place in Kandy, with the series then switching to R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for the final three games.

Remember the last time

You have to go back to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 to find the last time Sri Lanka took on Australia in a 50-over contest and it was skipper Aaron Finch that led the way on that occasion at The Oval in London.

Finch scored a superb 153 from just 132 deliveries that helped Australia post a massive score of 334/7 and that was always going to be too tough for Sri Lanka to chase down as Mitchell Starc took four wickets to help dismiss the island nation for 247 in reply.

Many of Australia’s XI from that match will once again feature during this series, while Sri Lanka boast many fresh faces and a new skipper in star all-rounder Dasun Shanaka.

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What they said

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka: “They took a brave decision to bat first (in the final T20I), it wasn’t the best idea to bat first in these conditions. We should take this momentum in the ODI series moving forward.”

Australia coach Andrew McDonald: “We haven’t played a lot of one-day cricket, so the build-up towards 2023 is really important. We feel as though we’ve got some really good plans in place to play some different ways come 2023, you never know what personnel is going to be available, who’s going to be injured at that time. You’ve got to cover all bases and it’s about building our capabilities in certain areas, but also concentrating on winning games of cricket. “

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Squads:

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha, Mendishewan Asalanka, Fernando Aswan Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Madushanka, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan

Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis , Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

Schedule:

June 14: First ODI, Kandy
June 16: Second ODI, Kandy
June 19: Third ODI, Colombo
June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo

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