Fri, Aug 19, 5:55pm by Jake Equid
The words that coach Darren Lehmann used to describe his sides efforts in the so far winless campaign in Sri Lanka must have cut deep as the Aussies now turn their attention to the shorter form of the game after relinquishing their world number one Test ranking.
The Aussies head into the opening game of the five match series on Sunday as favourites with Sportsbet at $1.52 with the home side at $2.53 but let’s not forget they were also favourite ahead of all three of the Test matches.
Lehmann did go on to say that he hoped the disastrous Test series would act as an invaluable learning curve for his side. The result of 3-0 quadrupled the number of Test Victories Sri Lanka has scored over Australia and took Australia’s Test record in Asia to a solitary win from 18 matches stretching back more than a decade.
The only player that escaped the coaches’ ire was opening-bowler Mitchell Starc who took 24 wickets at 15.16 on his return to the team from ankle surgery. A feat that fell only three wickets shy of the best return from an Aussie bowler in Asia in a three Test series. Shane Warne in 2002 v Pakistan.
Onto this match and despite relinquishing their number one Test ranking, the Aussies still hold the number one ODI ranking ahead of New Zealand and India. On the selection table, there are two changes from the last ODI series which was in the Caribbean in June. Glenn Maxwell makes way for Shaun Marsh after the Western Australian batsman missed the aforementioned ODI series for the birth of his first child, while Moises Henriques replaces fellow all-rounder Mitch Marsh.
Onto the victors who are still riding high from their 3-0 series triumph – perhaps the best result in their history. The number six ranking they currently hold in this format has to be taken with a grain of salt as we saw in the Test series they are a much different team on home soil.
The Sri Lankans are yet to name their squad for this series but one man who will certainly figure is Rangana Herath who’s stellar series that included 13 wickets in the final Test set up the clean sweep. Herath has jumped up the world rankings and now sits in fifth place.
Having said all of that, I’m backing the Aussies to win the first ODI, I think they’ll be happy to get into the coloured clothing and forget about the Test series as quickly as possible. The ODI team has been the most consistent format for the Australians for the past several years including the World Cup winning performance in March of last year.
BEST BET: Australia to win $1.52
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