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CWC 2019 – Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points. AUS vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup clash.

Australia, led by Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc, won their fourth game of CWC 2019 to go outright top of the standings (well, equal with rain).

Despite some nervy moments, as has been the case right throughout the campaign so far, Australia’s big guns led them to safety. Sri Lanka had their moments, particularly in the opening 15 overs of their run chase, where the win probability was almost 50-50. However, familiar failings came to the fore as Sri Lanka suffered another defeat in ODI Cricket.

Below are five key talking points from Australia’s 87-run win.

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1. Aaron Finch’s magnificent recovery

Aaron Finch, the Australian skipper, now has the most runs out of any player in ODIs in 2019. His 153 against Sri Lanka was his second such score this year, after a equally brutal 153* against Pakistan at Sharjah.

However, it was far from smooth sailing in the early stages of 2019. Often victim of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah in the powerplay overs, Finch scored just 63 runs in his first five innings. The weakness against the ball coming into his stumps was clear for all to see, often getting his front pad too far across to the offside. Australia were concerned. Should the captain make way for the returning David Warner?

However, hard work on this aspect of his game as paid off. Since his duck against India in Hyderabad, Finch has scored 951 runs in 14 innings at 73.15. The skipper has been central to Australia’s strong starts at this CWC 2019 (except for the West Indies where he was out early), overcoming beautiful inswing against Mohammad Amir and a concerted effort by the Sri Lankans to hit his front pad.

With every beautiful straight drive yesterday, Finch chipped away at removing such a big weakness from his game.

Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points. AUS vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup clash.
Getty Images. Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points – Aaron Finch is looking in fine touch.

2. Sri Lanka’s sorry story

It is disappointing to see a side, with two World Cup Final appearances in a row just eight years ago, fall into the abyss the way Sri Lanka have. Sri Lanka have won just 13 of their past 55 completed ODIs, and there has been a common theme in nearly all those matches.

Ahead of this match, Sri Lanka complained of the green pitches and their subjective view of under-par facilities. However, that is the least of their worries. Complete performances have been incredibly rare for over two years, often relying on individual brilliance or small pockets of dominance to get over the line. It was the case against Afghanistan earlier in CWC 2019, but when you come up against the more established teams, you have to be on your game for a lot longer than Sri Lanka were yesterday.

Their bowling was loose for most of the innings, only saving total humilation with an excellent final five overs that went for just 32. Isuru Udana led the way, but Nuwan Pradeep, who was supposed to be a boost, was poor throughout. A total of 334 was a good result given 370+ was on the cards, and despite a magnificent start from Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera, Sri Lanka’s middle order were once again unable to continue the good work.

Hope was high, as it almost always is. However, output wasn’t, which is unfortunately a common theme for Sri Lanka.

Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points. AUS vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup clash.
AFP. Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points – Dimuth Karunaratne was superb but needed a partner to continue the momentum after Kusal Perera was dismissed.

3. A missed opportunity

Following on from the previous point, Sri Lanka missed a significant opportunity.

The rapid start against Australia’s seamers – the kind no side has enjoyed so far in CWC 2019, sent some shock waves in the Australia camp. Aaron Finch had to juggle his resources earlier than he would have liked, with Jason Behrendhorff introduced in the fifth over.

By the 15th, Sri Lanka had raced to 112/0. The win probability read 54% Australia 46% Sri Lanka. This had the potential to be a nailbiter. However, there was always the nagging thought that if Sri Lanka lose Kusal Perera, they would struggle to maintain momentum.

That is what happened, and it was all their doing. A key period in the game was Glenn Maxwell going for just 46 off his 10 overs. Australia, for the second game running, took a risk by employing Maxwell as the fifth bowling option. He went the distance against Pakistan, and while he bowled well here, Sri Lanka really needed to attack him more.

Kane Richardson, despite his figures, wasn’t particularly flash with the ball in place of a specialist spinner. Jason Behrendhorff didn’t have the best of World Cup debuts. By the 34th over, Maxwell’s overs were complete and Aaron Finch could then focus on bowling more of the brilliant Starc and Cummins, with Richardson and Behrendhorff to support.

Indeed, this was a case of strategic-naivety from the Sri Lankans.

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4. The curious case of David Warner

David Warner, at one point during his innings, sat at the top of the CWC 2019 run-scoring charts until overtaken by Aaron Finch. However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, striking his 281 runs at just 76.98 runs per 100 balls.

More is expected from one of Australia’s power players. His time at The Oval this tournament has been a struggle, following up his 84-ball 54 against India with a 48-ball 26 against an ill-disciplined Sri Lankan bowling and fielding unit. That he is in the runs and spending time in the middle is good news for Australia, but Kumar Sangakkara rightly pointed out that he can go another level consistently – the kind we saw against Pakistan.

Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points. AUS vs SL: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup clash.
Australia v Sri Lanka: 5 key talking points – David Warner wasn’t at his best after a century vs Pakistan.

5. Australia’s team balance and finishing conundrum

Yes, the team balance conversation. The same as the Pakistan game.

Australia once again picked Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith in the same XI. Once again, only two would have sufficed, especially considering Shaun Marsh came in ahead of Alex Carey in the final five overs and struggled, scoring three runs in nine balls.

Australia scored just 32 runs in the final five overs. While they got away with it here (and against Pakistan too), they may not against the likes of England and India. Finishing is crucial in this World Cup, and you need to do it very well if you want to win it. So, either Marcus Stoinis or Mitchell Marsh has to come back into the side and make an immediate impact.

At the moment, Australia are winning. However, they can go another level.

Timing their run, perhaps?

We shall see.

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Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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