Australia v Sri Lanka First T20 Betting: Gamble on Lanka upset

Malinga is back for Sri Lanka
Malinga is back for Sri Lanka

Ed Hawkins previews the first of three T20 matches, with an experimental Australia side taking on the tourists at the MCG on Friday...

"How would this Sri Lanka team do in the Big Bash? And would they be as big as 4.216/5 to beat what is an Australia representative team?"

Recommended Bet
0.5pts Sri Lanka if they bat second at 4.216/5

Australia v Sri Lanka
Friday 17 February, 08:40
TV: live on BT Sport


It may take your head a while to get round this series. Aren't the Aussies due in India any day soon? Yep. Weren't Sri Lanka in South Africa last week? Yep.

It's bonkers scheduling and quite why this is being played is anyone's guess. Even the home selectors are unsure so they have picked what appears to be a Big Bash All Stars XI.

That means there is no David Warner, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Usman Khawaja or Mitchell Starc. Starc aside, that's all of their best performers with the bat in the last two years.

Aaron Finch leads and Michael Klinger gets a well-deserved call but the only other specialist batsmen are Ben Dunk and Travis Head. Okay, Tim Paine keeps wicket but it's not a well-balanced outfit.

James Faulkner, who is their best bowler in this format, is picked so will marshall Perth pacers AJ Tye and Jhye Richardson.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka were whitewashed in the Tests and ODI series in South Africa. But either side of those bitter pieces of bread was a T20 series win. South Africa also fielded an experimental XI and paid the price, losing 2-1.

There is no Angelo Mathews but Lasith Malinga (remember him?) returns after about, ooh, six years out with a knee injury. They desperately need someone with the x-factor.

Niroshan Dickwella impressed against South Africa but otherwise their batting is weak. Much rests on the shoulders of Upul Tharanga and Chamara Kapugedera.

With the ball, spin will be their weapon of choice. Watch out for Lakshan Sandakan and Seekkuge Prasanna.

First-innings runs

Here are the last 18 first-innings scores in T20 at the MCG followed by 1 or 2 denoting whether the side batting first or second won: 156-2, 138-2, 152-2, 171-1, 176-2, 161-2, 178-1, 179-2, 153-2, 150-tied, 190-1, 101-2, 141-2, 130-2, 161-1, 124-2,
188-1, 139-2.

Match odds

Here's another conundrum to get your head around: how would this Sri Lanka team do in the Big Bash? And would they be as big as 4.216/5 to beat what is an Australia representative team?

Our guess is that they would be shorter if the team they were up against were playing in purple (or some such) under a ghastly moniker. At worst they would be no bigger than 3.55/2.

That probably means we should bet them. Particularly if they chase. At the 'G it is easier to go after a target with 12 of the last 18 won by the chaser.

If you do decide to plump with the tourists, you're are essentially relying on a couple from Tharanga, Malinga or the reliable Nuwan Kulasekera playing out of their socks.

Top Australia runscorer

Finch, Klinger, Dunk, Head and Paine will all be vying for a slot in the top three. This is what we mean by unbalanced. The only man certain of a berth is Finch, who will surely open. He is 5/2 with Sportsbook.

Top Sri Lanka runscorer

Dickwella is the rightful 3.1 favourite with Tharanga, who showed good form in his last outing in South Africa, 4/1. Kapugedera looks too big at 9/1, however. He averages 21 in T20s at a strike rate of 21. Not too shabby at all.

Recommended Bet

0.5pts Sri Lanka if they bat second at 4.216/5

Ed Hawkins P-L

2017: +8.27pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
*Follow Ed on Twitter @cricketbetting

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