1st ODI – Australia def Sri Lanka by 3 wickets
The Aussie bowlers did a really good job and restricting Sri Lanka to 227 was a fabulous effect. However, given Steve Smith sent the hosts in, that should have been the minimum requirement.
The injection of James Faulkner reaped immediate, delicious Tasmanian rewards, with a career-best 4-38 for the left-armer.
The other leftie Mitch Starc took his 100th wicket in record time and finished with another pin-point 3-32.
Given the Aussies had chosen to play Moises Henriques in the middle order (following the withdrawal of Mitch Marsh, not as bad as I originally thought), the presence of Josh Hazlewood seemed surplus. Sri Lanka played six spinners including the genuine all-rounders so to go into the game with four quicks was a little bizarre, but typically Australian.
Sri Lanka handed the advantage to Australia on a platter with eight of the first ten overs coming via the pace of Angelo Matthews and Thisara Perera. Aaron Finch belted it during the power-play and helped his nation to 1-61 after the first ten.
From there it was all about stringing together solid partnerships, and Smith, Matthew Wade (a tick from me) and Georgie Boy Bailey all did that.
Losing 4-32 with the finishing line in reach was disappointing, but seeing Henriques and Travis Head miss out again was even more so.
The FINISHER! Faulkner was there at the end, but it was Starc who hit the winning runs. Maybe we just need to get more left-armers into the team?
See the scorecard here.
Preferred changes for the next match: