Published On: Sat, Aug 27th, 2016

New captain, retiring legend in focus as teams scrap for lead

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Match facts

Sunday, August 28, 2016
Start time 1430 local (0900 GMT)



Tillakaratne Dilshan needs 158 or more in his final innings to finish among the top 10 ODI run-scorers of all time © AFP

Big Picture

Three days ago, there was no reason to expect that this third ODI would be particularly headline-grabbing – at least, not beyond Dambulla hosting day-night cricket for the first time in six years. Then, Tillakaratne Dilshan announced his impending retirement, Steven Smith flew home and handed Australia’s captaincy to David Warner, and, suddenly, there was more than your average amount of interest in the match. It will also be an important game in determining the outcome of the series – the winner will move 2-1 up with two to play.

But for Sri Lankan fans, the attention will all be on Dilshan, the former captain, who is set to play his 330th and final One-Day International. It will not be Dilshan’s last international appearance, for he is due to play in the T20s that follow this series, but it is the beginning of a farewell to a Sri Lankan favourite, and one of the last remaining international cricketers who made his debut in the 1990s.

Much of the attention will also centre on Australia’s stand-in captain. The decision to fly Smith home to rest ahead of a busy upcoming schedule has been met with plenty of criticism. It does, though, provide an opportunity to test the leadership credentials of Warner, who has never captained Australia in any format. In fact, Warner’s only previous captaincy experience has come in Twenty20, so this is new for him on more than one level.

Form guide

Australia: LWWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka: WLLLL

In the spotlight

At 39, Tillakaratne Dilshan has certainly been there and done that. And now, he’s doing it for the last time – in ODI cricket, at least. Barring a monumental knock of 158 or more in his final innings (which would see him overtake Brian Lara), Dilshan will bow out as ODI cricket’s 11th highest scorer of all time. His record against Australia might not be the strongest – he has averaged 26.33 against them in 43 ODIs – but this is one last chance to make a big score against the No.1 team in the world.

David Warner will become the 23rd man to captain Australia in ODIs, and while he has never led a team in 50-over cricket, his record as a captain in Twenty20 cricket makes for remarkable reading. Warner has led teams in 34 T20s for 19 wins, but even more impressive is his personal figures as skipper: he averages 53.79 and has five scores of 90 and above. His most recent captaincy experience came in the 2016 IPL, where he led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the title and was second only to Virat Kohli on the tournament’s run charts. Australia’s powers that be will hope Warner continues to lead by example – at least, in terms of his run-making.

Team news

Sri Lanka have added 19-year-old right-arm pacer Lahiru Kumara for the remainder of the series, in place of allrounder Milinda Siriwardana. Like 18-year old batsman Avishka Fernando, who was named in the squad at the start of the series, Kumara has played no senior cricket at all. However, given their success in the previous match, there is every chance Sri Lanka will go in with an unchanged side.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kusal Mendis, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 5 Angelo Mathews (capt), 6 Dhananjaya de Silva, 7 Kusal Perera, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Seekkuge Prasanna, 10 Dilruwan Perera, 11 Amila Aponso.

Smith’s departure will force at least one change to the top order, with either Shaun Marsh or Usman Khawaja coming into the XI. The selectors might also be tempted to strengthen the attack after Australia’s combined “fifth bowler” – Moises Henriques and Travis Head – leaked runs at an alarming rate in the second game. Henriques has struggled for form on this tour, and dropping him would allow Head – who has one-day scores of 202 and 175 in the past year – to move into the top-six.

Australia (possible) 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Shaun Marsh/Usman Khawaja, 4 George Bailey, 5 Matthew Wade (wk), 6 Travis Head, 7 James Faulkner, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, 11 Nathan Lyon.

Pitch and conditions

Although pace bowlers have a strong record of wicket-taking in Dambulla, the Australians anticipate that the pitch will still offer plenty for the spinners.

Stats and trivia

  • This will be the first day-night ODI in Dambulla since 2010, when the floodlights were deemed to be of inadequate strength. They have now been upgraded
  • Australia have played only two matches – in any format – in Dambulla. Both were ODIs played in 2004. They won one and lost one
  • The departure of Smith deprives Australia not only of their captain, but also of the highest run-scorer in ODI cricket worldwide over the past year

Quotes

“I think he deserves a break, whether or not it was during the series or before the series. It is going to be very, very tough with the scheduling these days to play all three forms and every single game possible.”
David Warner, Australia’s stand-in captain, on Steven Smith flying home mid-series



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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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