Though, cricket like life is never about maybes, so we arrive at this third Test with Sri Lanka having a chance of tying the series
The only change for the hosts will be Rangana Herath coming in for Seekkuge Prasanna. Though, if I was Selector, I would probably replace Thilan Samaraweera in the line up with Lahiru Thirimanne. Sadly im not, so this will be the Team
Dilshan, Paranavitana, Sangakkara, Mahela, Samaraweera, Prasanna, Mathews, Herath, Randiv, Lakmal, Welegedera.
Prospects in this Game
The key for the whole match, and in particular Sri Lanka is the toss.
Crucially, they need to win it, then bat first, and bat long. Bringing the spinners into the play in the last two days backed by being able to have attacking fields. Due to a huge score on the board.
Even if the coin does come down in their favour and the pitch is a batting paradise as expected. There are no guarantees, that they will dominate, going on the performances of their top 6 in this series so far.
Tillikeratne Dilshan: Series Average: 14 (Career Average 42.56)
Tharanga Paranavitana: Series Average: 21 (Career Average 34.52)
Kumar Sangakkara: Series Average: 36 (Career Average 55.66)
Mahela Jayawardene: Series Average 42.75 (Career Average 52.41)
Thilan Samaraweera: Series Average 21.50 (Career Average 52.61)
Prasanna Jayawardene: Series Average 9.75 (Career Average 30.36)
So on average, the diminished performances by the top 6 in this series has seen on average, a 122 run drop per innings from their career average.
The Sri Lankan batting in all areas is the key for the Team to have a chance of winning.
On the bowling side of things, the Team has been average, but have been effected by injuries to Ajantha Mendis for the whole series and Rangana Herath. Who missed the 2nd Test, but will be fit for this Test.
Whether his inclusion will provide the Team with the extra threat to take 20 wickets is another huge query for Sri Lanka
The Aussies have suffered a huge blow in their bowling department with their spearhead Ryan Harris being ruled out of this game. Then on the batting side of things Ricky Ponting returns. Though disappointingly it will be at Usman Khawaja's expense, who has shown a bit of fight at 6. Rather than Phil Hughes, who has again looked all at sea. So this will be the Team
Watson, Hughes, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Marsh, Haddin, Johnson, Siddle, Copeland, Lyons
Prospects in the Game
The Aussie Captain Michael Clarke is talking the talk about wanting 2 nil in this series, and of course he does. Though with Australia having not won a series in 18 months it is crucial for the development of a young side that they don't give Sri Lanka any chance in this Test.
I think that will be the mentality, and if they bat first they will bat Sri Lanka out of the game. The same if they bat 2nd, they will give themselves a chance to win the game, but make sure they kill Sri Lanka's chances in the process.
The loss of Ryan Harris will insure the defensive mindset. For without him, it is unlikely to see Australia getting 20 wickets. The series figures highlight this
Harris in this series has taken 11 wickets at 14.54
Lyon, Copeland and Johnson have taken 16 wickets between them
And remarkably Mike Hussey has 2 wickets.
So with Harris missing, Australia is going to be greatly diminished in the bowling side of things.
Overall, Australia's performance in this series has been very respectable with both the batting and bowling performing to its potential. Then Michael Clarke showing he is a very enthusiastic, capable and incentive leader.
LOL- ive been way off the mark all series long with my Prediction. Due to favouring Sri Lanka to win in the previous two Tests.
Though this Test seems a lot easier to predict by the fact that the SSC pitch is traditionally a batting paradise. So it is unlikely that either side can get 20 wickets. Especially with Australia missing Harris and Sri Lanka's only chance is for their spinners to dominate. That is hugely dependant on the toss firstly, then secondly their batting performing
So my odds would be this
Sri Lanka Win 20%
Australia Win 10%