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Australian Cricket: Sri Lanka v Australia 4th ODI Preview

Australia will have to win the final two One Day Internationals if they are to claim the series after Sri Lanka won the third match by six wickets to go 2-1 up on Sunday.

Australia won the toss and elected to bat first in Colombo. It looked to be a good decision as they posted a challenging total of 6-291 on a slow wicket.

Travis Head was the star of the show with 70 runs and the Aussies had given themselves a good chance of taking the win.

However Sri Lanka had other ideas and reached the total with relative ease. Pathum Nissanka smashed a maiden ODI century with an impressive 137 runs. Kusal Mendis also scored 87 as the duo put on an impressive second-wicket stand of 170.

The home side got there with nine balls to spare as they chased down their biggest ever total against Australia.

It is also the first time in 20 years Sri Lanka have beaten Australia in back-to-back ODIs and they are now looking good to go on and win the series.

Questions have been raised about team selection once again and the Aussies now have to find a way to fight back. Starting in Colombo on Tuesday night.

What: Sri Lanka v Australia, Fourth One Day International
Where: Colombo, Sri Lanka
When: 19:00 (AEST) Tuesday 21st June, 2022
Odds: Sri Lanka 7/4, Australia 4/9

Decision to leave out Mitchell Swepson backfires

Hindsight can be a wonderful thing but the Aussies look to have dropped a clanger by opting to go without a front-line spinner in the third ODI.

It is fair to say they are short of options as there is no Nathan Lyon, while Adam Zampa is missing on paternity leave and Ashton Agar is injured.

Even so they did have the option of going with Mitchell Swepson but opted not to us him. It proved to be a costly mistake as Sri Lanka knocked off the runs.

Glenn Maxwell took an early wicket but finished with figures of 1-44. Matthew Kuhnemann was the only other real spin option but failed to shine with 0-61 from his 10 overs.

Elsewhere all-rounder Cameron Green registered figures of 0-31 off five overs and Marnus Labuschagne 0-49 off seven overs of leg breaks. Paceman Josh Hazlewood (1-57) and Jhye Richardson (2-39) battled hard and struck late but the damage had already been done.

In fairness to Australia, the conditions did change when Sri Lanka came into bat. The pitch sped up and turned less in the second innings and Sr Lanka capitalised.

"You can always look back at a lot of decisions and wonder what was the right one," captain Aaron Finch said after the game. "We still felt that was the right combination to go for on this wicket with how slow it looked.

"You saw in the first half of the game it was very stoppy and turned quite a bit. We thought it would continue to do that but it played a bit better under lights."

Now it remains to be seen if Swepson will be brought in for the fourth ODI on the same pitch.

His absence also raises questions over whether Australia see Swepson as a genuine second spin option to Lyon when the Tests get underway. Although Lyon has offered his support and says he wants him involved.

Travis Head in great touch

There were positives to take from the batting performance but again no-one kicked on to get the big match-winning score like Nissanka did for Sri Lanka.

Head was the star when smashing 70 off 65 balls. It came just a week after he scored a century for Australia A and looks to be in very good touch once again.

Aaron Finch (62) and Alex Carey (49) also dug in but David Warner (9), Mitch Marsh (10) and Labuschagne (29) all disappointed. The total still could have been enough though had Australia performed with the ball.

Team news

At least Australia appear to have come through the match unscathed for once. They have been dogged by injuries but there were no fresh ones to report on Monday.

Steve Smith missed out with a minor quad strain but there is little chance of him playing again in the remaining ODIs. The former skipper will be saved for the two-match Test series which comes up next.

The one decision to be made concerns Swepson and whether the selectors will give the spinner another crack after what happened on Sunday.

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