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Australia look to avoid Sri Lankan series sweep

Thu, Aug 11, 5:08pm by Staff Writer

Australia heads down the newly constructed freeway from Galle to Colombo knowing that the series is lost after the world No.1’s 229-run loss to Sri Lanka in the second Test. What they have served up in this series has been below international standard and simply not good enough but full credit must go to the hosts who have outplayed Australia in every facet of the game.

The punters have finally given up on the Aussies who head into the third Test on Saturday as outsiders with Sportsbet at $2.60 for the first time in the series. The home side are $2.44 with the draw at $3.65.

Steve Smith is the only Australian batsman to have notched a half-century in this series and none have come close to reaching three figures. It has been more than 128 years since an Australian batting line-up has produced such a minimal individual return in a Test series of at least two matches. One of the only positives for the Aussies is that this pitch is traditionally batter-friendly and it looks like the Aussies need it to be.

If Australia loses this Test they will also lose the world number one ranking. Mitch Marsh compared the value the Australian team places on the global rankings to the premiership cups football clubs compete for. “It’s what we strive for. “In the Test arena you don’t play for a premiership, you play to be number one in the world. “Any team that gets knocked off the perch as number one Test team in the world, it would certainly hurt everyone.”

Sri Lanka have unearthed an absolute gem in 21-year old Kusal Mendis. He followed up his first Test heroics where he scored his maiden test century by scoring 86 crucial runs in the first innings of the second Test to set up the victory.

Having said all of that, I’m sticking with the Aussies to take home a consolation win in this one. The Aussies have never lost a Test at this venue as they are much more suited to the conditions that this venue provides. There is too much class in this batting line-up for them to fail again.

BEST BET: Australia to win $2.60

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