Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Preview, Australia versus Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne

It seems almost surreal to think of the destiny of this 2nd Test and come to the conclusion that Michael Clarke's hamstring could be the deciding factor in it.

That is the reality from an objective stand point for it would deprive Australia's fragile batting line up of a player that has contributed near on 40% of their runs for 2012. As well as put an increased focus on the names in the batting line up that outside of Michael Hussey all have question marks against them and inspire little faith.

It would change the dimensions of the match with the weak Sri Lankan bowling having a chance to bowl against an equally weak batting line up.

Making the match to be decided over who prevails between the Sri Lankan batting line up that is choc full of batting pedigree, but does not travel well. In comparison with an Australian bowling line up that has been deprived of its key strike weapons to injury as well as deciding to rest a budding strike weapon in Mitchell Starc.

Curious decision that to put it politely.........

A tad arrogant too which always serves as inspiration for an opposition to rise as we saw with the same Sri Lankan Team in the face of similar arrogance last year on Boxing Day....

Likely Teams

Australia

The announcement has already been made that Mitchell Starc will be rested with Jackson Bird coming in for his debut and Mitchell Johnson replacing the stricken Ben Hilfenhaus.

Then there is Clarke's hamstring meaning if he is out his place will be taken by Usman Khawaja

Leaving the Team as follows

Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke/ Khawaja, Hussey, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Lyon, Bird

Sri Lanka 

The tourists only query seems to be over the fitness of Nuwan Kulasekera, but his fitness aside his efforts in the 1st Test exposed him as being a very fine ODI bowler but a long way off Test quality. Meaning he should be replaced with Sri Lanka's best chance to beat Australia is to bring in Suraj Randiv, and back their spin pedigree.

This would be my Team

Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Suraj Randiv, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Shaminda Eranga, 11 Chanaka Welegedara.

The Keys to Winning


Assuming Clarke is out it makes this match a coin toss.

Ultimately it will be decided largely by which Teams weakness can perform the best in regards to Sri Lanka's threadbare bowling or Australia's Swiss Cheese like batting

As you peruse through the respective units one name stands out as a potential difference maker in Rangana Herath. The left hand spinner who has taken the most wickets in 2012 with 60 wickets at an average of 22.03, and is coming off a 5 wicket haul in Australia's 2nd innings of the 1st Test.

Without Clarke's pedigree and the protection he offers the rest of the batting with it he could truly run amok

To counter this threat Australia will need a hero to rise from its under performing batting ranks

Time to stand up Shane Watson?????????

Whose average of 25.14 with the bat for his last two years in Test Cricket is simply not good enough.

The other key in this match is the Selectors removal of a vindicated X Factor in Mitchell Starc, who won the last Test for the Team with a high skilled spell of fast swing bowling

Leaving Australia's bowling unit made up of one trusted entity in Peter Siddle, who in truth is a perfect change bowler being expected to perform as a vindicated number 1. Supported by a debutante in Jackson Bird, the Forrest Gump of Cricket in MItchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon, who of late has looked like Little Boy Lost.

If the under performing Masters of the Sri Lankan batting in Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara awaken in this match an upset could be on the cards.......

Prediction

There is something about this match that has upset written all over it

So I am predicting a miraculous Sri Lankan win 

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