Australia batted away some of their Test match blues by picking up a win in the first one-day international against Sri Lanka. The Aussies will now look to make it two wins in a row when the two sides meet at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for the 2nd ODI on Wednesday.
Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner were the main reasons behind Australia's opening ODI win, with the two seamers picking up seven wickets between them to help restrict Sri Lanka to a below par score of 227. While Australia made heavy weather of the chase, taking the match to the 47th over, while losing seven wickets as well, the result was never really in doubt.
For that positive result to happen again, Starc and Faulkner need to deliver with the white ball one more time, but Sri Lanka are ready to counter the threat posed by Australia's two leading bowlers.
"We have a clear plan for (Starc) – to refrain from attacking him, so that we don't give him wickets," Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews told reporters. "If we can score 40 or 50 runs off him, we feel that we can catch up against the other bowlers. Because he's bowling well, we should give him that respect. But at the same time we also have to put his loose balls away.
"With James Faulkner, his variations were excellent on that pitch, because of how dry it was. We struggled with those variations, so we'll come with a plan."
The pitch is not expected to be as dry as the one played on in the first match, but it should again aid the slower bowlers. Left-arm orthodox Amila Aponso impressed on debut, while Lakshan Sandakan, despite being a little expensive, picked up two wickets in just five overs.
Australia will also look to make an impact through their slow bowlers, with a certain Travis Head, slowly but surely, turning into the team's latest off-spinning all-rounder. After Glenn Maxwell was dropped for this series, the onus has fallen on Head to chip in with a few precious overs, while picking up a wicket or three as well. And that is a role the 22-year-old is more than ready to embrace.
"I'm pretty raw, still, with my bowling," Head said while speaking to the media on Tuesday. "That's helped me coming over here that I've learnt the style the Sri Lankans have been bowling their spin.
"I haven't come in here with a certain way of going about things. I'm pretty open-minded on my bowling. I just want to try and find the conditions as best as possible. If that can get me selected, the second string to my batting – I'm there to make runs – but if I can come in and do a job with the ball that's a positive. That's what I'm heading towards, working on as much as possible, so that I can be a genuine option."
Adam Zampa is the lead spin option for Australia, and the leg-spinner will want to get in that wickets column to help his team take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Where to Watch Live
Sri Lanka vs Australia 2nd ODI is set to begin at 2.30 p.m. local time (2.30 p.m. IST, 10 a.m. BST, 7 p.m. AEDT). Live Streaming and TV information is below.
India and rest of sub continent: TV: Ten 3 and Ten 1 HD. Live Streaming: Ten Sports Live.
Australia: TV: Fox Sports 3. Live Streaming: Foxtel.
South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: TV: SuperSport5. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.