3rd ODI Cricket: Australia v Sri Lanka

With the series delicately poised at one win apiece, Australia & Sri Lanka head to Brisbane for the crucial third game and the tourists approach the match with renewed confidence (3.20am GMT, Friday).

Australia’s new look team had always looked vulnerable and for once, Mahela Jayawardene’s men played to their potential as they took the second contest in Adelaide.

Can the Sri Lankans maintain that form against a team who have recalled some of their senior players in an attempt to fight back?

Best Betting Odds for Australia v Sri Lanka
8/15 Australia
(Stan James)
7/4 Sri Lanka
(Bet365, Betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes)

Having finally proved that they can win a game on this tour, Sri Lanka clearly offer some good value at that price but the key to the contest may lie in the players that are set to return to the Australian squad.

David Warner may have adapted his game for the test arena but he remains a specialist limited overs player who can score quickly and take the game away from the opposition in the space of a few overs. His reintroduction could have more effect than that of skipper Michael Clarke who may have enjoyed a prolific 2012 but is struggling with a hamstring injury and may be some way away from his best.

Matthew Wade also returns to bat and keep wicket and suddenly the Australians are back to their first choice batting line up.

Sri Lanka’s bowlers performed well as a unit in Adelaide, with Lasith Malinga taking three wickets but they might need to improve further if they are to record back-to-back victories in Brisbane.

Australia have also strengthened in the bowling department where left arm pacemen Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson have both been passed fit to play. The two men are almost certain to return to the starting XI and once again, an inexperienced line up is suddenly replaced by a first choice outfit.

That means that Sri Lanka’s batting will have to improve too, despite the fact that the younger batters finally took some responsibility in Adelaide. Lahiru Thirimanne made an impressive century in his side’s run chase and he dominated the innings as Sri Lanka chased down 170.

Thirimanne will be vital in Friday’s third match, as will the veteran pairing of Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan. If these three men can make half centuries or more, and the other players bat around them then Sri Lanka are set to post or chase down a big total.

However, this game should ultimately be decided by Australia’s batsmen who now have the greater strength in depth thanks to the returning three men. A top order or Warner, Clarke, Phil Hughes and David Hussey has the capability of posting a total way beyond their opponents’ reach.

As well as Sri Lanka bowled last time out, it’s hard to see Jayawardene’s men restricting Australia this time around and I’m expecting Michael Clarke’s team to win this with a powerful batting display.

This Preview’s Betting Tip: Australia to win at biggest betting odds of 8/15 with Stan James.