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Rusty Sri Lankans brace for Australia's potent pace threat
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Rusty Sri Lankans brace for Australia's potent pace threat

Sri Lanka's current standing at number five in the points table is deceptive to a simpleton as the islanders have been far from clinical in their performances thus far in the World Cup.

Acquiring four points in as many games at the back of two washouts against Pakistan and Bangladesh, Sri Lanka will be looking to solidify their chances of securing a berth in the top four against Australia on Saturday at the Oval.

Their inconsistent batsmen were found to be devoid of compact technique against fast bowling in the opening encounter against New Zealand as nine of the ten wickets to fall were accounted for by pace.

Australia, on the other hand, are all charged to head into the game with a confidence-boosting win over Pakistan at Taunton on Wednesday.

Initial doubts over Mitchell Starc's form have all been put to rest as he has once again emerged as the spearhead of Australia's bowling attack with his aggressive approach of routinely targetting the stumps paying dividends for the side.

Australia has lacked a potent spin option in this tournament as Adam Zampa was rendered ineffective in the 36-run loss to India and also the wins over Afghanistan and the West Indies, though they would be tempted to play with a four-pronged seam attack with Glenn Maxwell slotting in the role of a part-time spinner.

The new role of Khawaja and Marsh

With David Warner and Aaron Finch being decided as Australia's best opening pair, given the duo's extravagant form in recent times, the focus now shifts to Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh's new-found roles in the middle order.

The Australian team management has faced a fair share of criticism for not utilizing the skills of the two left-handed batsmen to yield the most benefit.

However, coach Justin Langer feels both Khawaja and Marsh have the ability to shine in the middle-order.

"[Marsh] is an unbelievable T20 cricketer - if you look at his T20 record, it's unbelievable. And I thought Uzzie [Khawaja] played really well, like he adapted against West Indies the other day. It was a really different role for him but I thought he did a good job," he claimed on the eve of the match against Sri Lanka.

'Unfair pitch' controversy mars proceedings

The Sri Lankan team contingent is particularly unhappy over another green track prepared for them, given the fact that such a pitch would heavily favour the Australian side.

This, among other inconveniences, irked the Sri Lankan team manager Ashanta de Mel enough to write a complaint to the ICC against the insufficient arrangements in place for the side.

The ICC has dismissed claims of bias due to poor pitches but the matter still creates a sour mood regarding the ensuing clash between the two teams.


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

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