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ICC World Cup 2019: Warm-Up Match 7, Australia vs Sri Lanka, Preview – Underconfident Islanders and the high-flying Aussies tussle in Southampton

Australia come into the game on the back off a sensational win against their arch-rivals.

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Australia
Australia. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Maybe six months ago, Sri Lanka and Australia found themselves in identical positions with their sides getting hammered in every possible game. It was always clear the Aussies will bounce back, but there were always some doubts surrounding the Islanders if ever they had the potential to bounce back before the World Cup.

All of those presumptions turned out true as the 5-time champions did bounce back in style and the Lankan Lions are still struggling to get out of the cage. The challenges ahead of them are very significant and it doesn’t seem like the Asian side has the mettle in their squad to resurrect themselves from this situation. In the future, maybe there is some promise, but for them to bounce back in this World Cup will take a monumental effort.

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Australia got off to a strong start, defeating their arch-rivals England in the most convincing fashion possible. Steve Smith’s century came in as such a respite for them, who were contemplating if the late addition of the returning stalwarts would cause some concerns in the batting lineup. As it stands, it only appears as though they have added more strength to the side.

Playing Combinations

Australia

Usman Khawaja might be batting at number three with Warner and Finch continuing to open the innings. It will be interesting to see if Steve Smith will be batting as they might want to rest him before their main fixtures. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc didn’t get to bowl in the previous game with Richardson and Coulter-Nile handling the responsibility, but here they might get a go just to find some rhythm.

Squad: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Kane Richardson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Jason Behrendorff, Adam Zampa, Nathan Lyon

Sri Lanka

Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews got some crucial runs in the first game. Dhananjaya de Silva and Lahiru Thirimanne will get some time in the middle and they might send Avishka Fernando to open the innings. Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal bowled a lot of overs against South Africa, hence they might expect some overs from their veteran Lasith Malinga.

Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep

Focus will be on

Usman Khawaja (Australia)

Before the return of David Warner of Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja’s effort to keep the country’s flag flying high was pretty commendable. His sensational outing in the UAE even made experts doubt if Warner or Smith could come back, but they eventually did. It is still confusing as to where he might bat in this lineup, but he is highly likely to bat at number three when the tournament begins and he might bat there in this game just to get in the groove.

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

It would be an understatement to say the Islanders need their senior most cricketer to get going as soon as possible. On these flat English tracks, Malinga is the only bowler in their ranks who could handle the pressure of bowling in the death. He needs to fire some bullets with the new ball as well if possible, just to strike down their strong top order.

Head to head

Matches Played – 96 | Australia won – 60 | Sri Lanka won – 32 | No Result – 4

Broadcasting details

TV – Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD

Live Stream – Hotstar.

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