Australia v Sri Lanka
Friday 11 February, 08:00
TV: live on BT Sport
Australia are world champs
Australia are a curious T20 outfit. Or to put it another way: the world champions thanks to an unforgiving toss bias in the UAE.
They didn't line-up like world beaters at any stage of that tournament in terms of ability. Nor did they play it with the free-thinking required in the format. Witness England's demolition job of them in that competition.
But they are getting there. There's no David Warner for example, suggesting they're ready to move on to the likes of Hobart Hurricanes hitter Ben McDermott. Steve Smith remains a clog in the batting order. Aaron Finch perhaps could have handed in the reins after a bonus trophy. The excellent bowling at-tack is in place and that will almost certainly be the difference here.
Possible XI: Finch, McDermott, Maxwell, Smith, Stoinis, Wade, Agar, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood, Zampa
Sri Lanka not at their strongest
Sri Lanka took many by surprise in the World Cup. They did well to qualify for the Super 12s.
Their brand was fearless and fearsome. No one epitomised that more than Rajapaksa, who struck in the 140s and averaged mid-30s.
How utterly depressing then - not least because we were lining up top-bat bets - that he has been axed. It really is a heads-in-hands moment. Instead Dinesh Chandimal gets another go. It's a backward move.
Kusal Mendis and Gunathilaka after back after Covid bans. Charith Asalanka and Avishka Fernando we're doing just fine in their absence. All-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga walks into any XI in the world.
Possible XI: Nissanka, Gunathilaka, Asalanka, Kusal, Chandimal, Shanaka, Wanindu, Karunaratne, Theekshana, Chameera, Lahiru Kumara
The SCG has an average first-innings score of 155 in the last 28. That's a five-year study period. The minor toss bias comes in at 54% for the chaser. In the recent Big Bash there were three first-innings scores of more than 190. Australia, if they bat first, will surely a target a minimum nine an over. It will be interesting to see where the par line is pitched. A low 170 is a probable buy. The runs markets are here.
Tricky for tourists
We would like to take on Australia at prohibitively short prices of 1.162/13. Sri Lanka are 6.806/1. But we're fighting shy.
In UAE in the conditions the Lankans would have felt at home. The pitches were slower, lower and grip for spin. Australia's fast and bouncy wickets just don't suit their batters.
Moreover there is a clear gulf. Australia were ranked No 1 for boundary percentage with the bat. Sri Lanka rated at No 10 for boundary percentage with the ball. That spells trouble.
In the World T20 Australia cruised to a seven-wicket win. They chased 155 with three overs to spare. It lends weight to the theory that the Sri Lanka bowlers have a lot of work on their hands.
If you'e risking Sri Lanka be aware you're likely to be betting something much bigger at the break. So they would need to bat first. That goes against the toss bias, of course. It's far from ideal.
McDermott would have been a fancy for top bat but Sportsbook are alive to the likelihood that he opens with Aaron Finch at 3/1. One price out of kilter is the 7/1 about Josh Inglis topping. We don't expect him to play but if he does he surely bats in the first three. Glenn Maxwell is a favourite of ours and there is an edge on him for top match bat at 17/2. That's a 10.5% chance on probability. In his career he wins at 11.1%.
For Sri Lanka we need to be careful about an emotional Rajapaksa substitute. But Hasaranga looks big at 25/1. Likewise Karunaratne at 20. Kusal and Avishka at 9/2 and 15/2 respectively are not the worst bets in the world as they could potentially open. The special markets are here.
PSL previews on Cricket...Only Bettor