5th over: Sri Lanka 25-1 (Nissanka 10, de Silva 6) Shouts ! Starc sends two full balls to start over and Nissanka throws away the kitchen sink, fridge, kettle and all the utensils but fails to connect. Starc doesn’t look impressed. There is a lot of rhythm and rebounding and at the moment Sri Lanka are struggling to get the ball back, maybe rustling a little too loud. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Three above.
4th over: Sri Lanka 22-1 (Nissanka 9, de Silva 6) Cummins goes on and keeps it tight. Hitting back from a length, driving the ball back into the batters. Shot! Dhananjaya gets the upper hand on the rebound and walks away for four. The two parties gauge each other at the start. Starc arrives for the whirlwind.
3rd: Sri Lanka 16-1 (Nissanka 8, de Silva 1) Nissanka heads for the leg and pushes Hazlewood to the side leg fence for four. The next ball is tackled to the ground and narrowly escapes David Warner who pedals backwards. Aggressive intention of the Sri Lankan higher order. Hazlewood then leaps two wides to the side of the leg, the last of which he demands a burglary from Wade behind the stumps but referee Erasmus has none of it as he chews his gum and nonchalantly extends his arms.
Mendis brushes off Cummins for a top four at third, then tries an even bigger swish to the next one, moving away from the leg but only managing to connect with some fresh air. Faded away! Another hack goes straight up and is pocketed safely by Mitch Marsh. Australia has an early strike. Dhananjaya de Silva is the new bat.
2nd over: Sri Lanka 6-1 (Nissanka 1, de Silva 0)
1st over: Sri Lanka 2-0 (Nissanka 1, Mendis 1) Hazlewood is right on the button, getting a bit of a zip and swing away from the Perth pitch, he beats the edge a few times to moan and moan from the cord. Nissanka and Mendis both stand out with a single. This is Pat Cummins.
We got the anthems and the countdown. World number one T20I men’s bowler Josh Hazlewood has the bright white ball in his mitts. Let’s play!
The crowd is building in Perth, we have about ten minutes before the first ball. Just enough time to dip a toe in the news.
CONTACT WHY DONTCHA?
Thoughts, theories, feelings in general? Send me an e-mail or a tweet @Jimbo_Cricket and I will be happy to read them.
Nervous times for Australia:
Adam Zampa came out with covid, Ashton agar Between. Pathum Nissanka is back for Sri Lanka.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dasun Shanaka (c), Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Binura Fernando, Lahiru Kumara.
Australia win toss to be first in BOWLER
Hello and welcome to Perth* for this T20 World Cup ding dong between Australia and Sri Lanka under the lights of Optus Stadium.
This World Cup has been a belt so far, the qualifying round and early Super 12 stages have had it all – upheaval, intrigue, controversy and one of the greatest T20 games of all time in Melbourne the other day when India and Pakistan played each other to the last ball and Virat Kohli played one of the legs of his life.
But what about Australians? Well, they were at the end of a full bombardment thanks to their rivals from over ditch. New Zealand, especially Finn Allen (42 of 16) and Devon Conway (92* of 58) tried hard to put green and gold downfield in 201 points to win. Australia could only muster 111 (Tim Southee 3-6, Mitch Santner 3-31) and New Zealand missed out on the winners by 89 points, ending a TWELVE year wait for a men’s international victory on Australian soil.
Wounds to lick then for hosts and holders as their net run rate has taken a hit, they sit on a wobbly -4.45 NRR and will be looking to get a win, a resounding one at that, under their belt.
Their adversaries, Sri Lanka, will of course have other ideas. After beating Ireland first they sit pretty well on an NRR of 2.467 for good and after going through the tricky qualifying are on their heels in the tournament. It could be a case of rhythm v spin while Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood will likely line up against the tweaking trio of Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana and Dhananjaya de Silva. Hasaranga is yet to hit his suspenders so far, but he was player of the tournament last time out and is in possession of possibly the best googly in the game (Sorry Adil Rashid).
Hopefully we get another plug, play starts at 7pm Perth / 10pm AEDT and 12pm UK.
*Jim here with the call, OBO from a fisherman’s cottage in Port Isaac, just 9194 miles / 14796.31km from Perth. To be fair, the weather seems similar. I’m off to make a cup of tea/nail another dough/crank up some sea shanties and I’ll be back with news of the draw and teams shortly.