Ed Hawkins previews game two on Wednesday from The Gabba and winces at the odds as the Lankans, believe it or not, may have been underrated...
"We're contractually obliged to point out that the gulf in odds doesn't reflect the difference in ability. And it's probably even too big in terms of smarts"
Australia v Sri Lanka
Wednesday 29 October, 09:10
TV: live on BT Sport
Starc misses out
It's all getting a bit village. Whether it's David Warner scoring a ton on his birthday and beating Sri Lanka on his own (he scored one more run than their entire XI) or Mitchell Starc missing game two to be at his brother's wedding, this series has an amateur feel.
The selection of Steve Smith, despite there being no evidence he is a T20 player, adds to the malaise. Smith, it seems, is only in the team because he is too big a personality to drop. He didn't even bat against Sri Lanka after Warner had destroyed the visiting attack. We wonder what Smith thought when he saw Glenn Maxwell go in ahead of him and produce a finishing masterclass - 62 from 28 including three sixes.
With no Starc, Billy Stanlake is expected to play. With AJ Tye injured and Nathan Coulter-Nile not selected, Stanlake has the best strike rate of any Aussie pacer in the last two years. He's taking a wicket every 14.1 balls.
Sri Lanka calamitous
Sri Lanka insisted they had plans to keep Australia's batting quiet in the first match in Adelaide. They just didn't come off, said Bhanuka Rajapaksa. We'd wager if they didn't work, they weren't worth having.
Given Sri Lanka's catalogue of errors the odds would have been 1.011/100. For a start they won the toss on a decent track for mid-afternoon game - and put Australia in. There was no hint of movement. This torpedoed Sri Lanka's winning method in Pakistan when they twice defended. It was particularly bonkers because two years ago they did the same thing at the same venue and were well beaten.
Bless, they couldn't even get the right players on the pitch. Isuru Udana, a solid all-rounder, was dropped. This after taking five wickets for 48 in his two games against Pakistan. He is certain to re-turn with Kasun Rajitha dropped after conceding 75 off his four overs, a T20 record.
Pitch stays true
There have only been four T20 internationals played at the Gabba. The scores (102 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first) read: 158-2/191-1/157-2/201-1. In Big Bash cricket it has always been a belter of a wicket which has stayed true. A middling 160 has been a minimum and there has been a bias for the chaser, although we have to be aware that Brisbane Heat's plans in the field defending have often been found wanting.
Sri Lanka small risk
Australia are 1.162/13 and Sri Lanka 7.06/1. That's mighty short about the hosts, even if the visitors couldn't have been more chaotic in South Australia.
We're contractually obliged to point out that the gulf in odds doesn't reflect the difference in ability. And it's probably even too big in terms of smarts. Technically, then, we should be betting Lanka because we think they're probably a couple of points bigger than they should be. But we know we're on a hiding to nothing. The best option is to trade it and hope for a swing into half the price. For more on trading and back-to-lay strategy, check out Betfair's Exchange How-To Guides.
Warner top scored for the first time in yonks - it's now one win in his last six. Sportsbook make him favourite for a repeat at 21/10. Aaron Finch is next best at 12/5. Maxwell has been chopped from 6s to 9/2. Smith is 9/2. Remember, he has top scored only three times in his 31 matches.
For Sri Lanka, Kusal Perera is their best batter and he gets a 7/2 favourite quote. BOP Fernando could rival him if he continues his form from the Pakistan series. He's no 7/1 shot. Also, a word on Udana whose strike rate of 168 in the last two years makes the 14/1 seem toppy.
Ed Hawkins P-L
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. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back-to-lay Sri Lanka from 7.06/1 to 3.02/1