Aussies Attempt To Level Series

Source: AFP/news.com.au
Phil Hughes has scored just 7 in his past three innings. Source: AFP/news.com.au
Australia  will be looking to salvage a draw from its One Day International series with Sri Lanka  when the sides meet in the fifth and final match at Hobart on Wednesday. Trailing 2-1 going into the penultimate match in Sydney, Australia could well have been given a reprieve when the match was abandoned less than four overs into the tourists chase of a below par total of 222. ‘Below par’ pretty much sums up Australia’s efforts with the bat in the series, with number nine Mitchell Starc the leading runscorer across the past two matches.

The hosts batting stocks could be depleted further going into the series finale with skipper Michael Clarke  a doubtful starter after injuring his ankle at training on Tuesday. If he is ruled out, George Bailey  would fill in as captain and also move up the order to bat at first drop. That would leave a feeble looking middle order of Glenn Maxwell  and Moises Henriques however, and selectors would be loathed to have to rely on the two out of form youngsters for runs. Despite scoring 112 on debut, Phil Hughes  has struggled with the swinging ball throughout the series and has scored just seven runs in his past three innings and will be looking for a big score to consolidate his place in the side.

Although they hold an unassailable lead in the series, there is still plenty of improvement to come from Sri Lanka. Like the Aussies, their batsmen have struggled. Captain Mahela Jayawardene  has been the biggest culprit to date and has an average of just five across the opening four matches. Tillakaratne Dilshan  is the tourists leading runscorer in the series with 133 runs, while Dinesh Chandimal  and game two centurion Lahiru Thirimanne  are the only other visiting batsman with an average in double figures.

Nuwan Kulasekara  and Lasith Malinga  have been unplayable with the new ball and were largely responsible for skittling Australia for just 74 at the Gabba on Friday and will be hoping to wreak further havoc on a pitch that has been favourable for the pacemen in recent years.

Australia has won eight of its past nine ODI matches in Hobart, with the sole defeat in that period coming against Sri Lanka in their most recent match at the ground, in February last year. Sri Lanka has a good record against Australia in the Tasmanian capital having won both meetings between the pair there.

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