By Jaideep Varma and Jatin Thakkar
Australia 271/6; Sri Lanka 274/2 (Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets)
The scorecard of the match is here.
On one of those pitches (which are alarmingly becoming common in international cricket) where it is difficult to set a target, Australia faltered by being overly cautious in the initial stages despite having wickets in hand. On what was at least a 310-pitch, Australia were blissfully 40 runs short, and eventually received one of the biggest hidings of this CB Series.
Here is the match through the IMPACT lens.
Tillakratne Dilshan produced one of the most outstanding performances of his career – at one of the most important occasions in Sri Lankan cricket history. In the only all-round performance of the match, he first gave Sri Lanka early momentum with the ball with an early wicket and a tight, economical performance at the top (1 for 40 in 10 overs, IMPACT 1.94). Then, he came right back and led Sri Lanka’s batting reply (106 off 119 balls, IMPACT 5.08) and was easily the highest impact player of the match (and an easy-to-spot Man-of-the-Match).
Australian captain Michael Clarke, back from an injury, registered the highest Batting IMPACT in the match (6.27 for his 117 off 91 balls). His innings had considerable Strike Rate IMPACT and Pressure IMPACT (for what he thwarted at 56 for 2, a potentially tricky time on this pitch).
Of the three centuries made in the match (2 by Australia, 1 by Sri Lanka), David Warner’s bizarre innings had the lowest impact (100 off 140 balls, IMPACT 3.06). His second consecutive century in the finals was poorly conceived as he, uncharacteristically and very strangely, went into a shell and consumed too many balls to score the runs. Perhaps he over-reacted to the match situation (Clarke and he were the only ones in the match to absorb pressure), maybe he misread the pitch and credited it with more devils than were due to it; it cost Australia dearly as the other batsmen just got 4 overs to swing their arms when he got out. It’s probably a lesson of what not to do in ODI match, especially in these T20 times when setting targets is becoming more and more difficult.
In fact, Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene (80 off 76, Batting IMPACT 4.01), despite scoring 20 runs less than Warner, registered a significantly higher Batting IMPACT (thanks to his strike rate). The opening partnership between the captain and Dilshan pretty much seized the match for their team.
Lasith Malinga, after three mediocre games, was back to his best again (3 for 40 in 10 overs, IMPACT 4.57). Sri Lanka’s second-highest impact bowler in their ODI history (after you-know-who) could not have found his mojo at a more opportune time.
Brett Lee (1 for 41 in 8 overs, Bowling IMPACT 1.44) and James Pattinson (1 for 47 in 8 overs, IMPACT 1.32) were the only Australian bowlers to make any kind of impression, but neither was anywhere near enough.
Interestingly, except these four (Dilshan, Malinga, Lee and Pattinson), not a single bowler from either side was able to register any kind of impact on the game. Malinga was the only one of them to register an IMPACT of over 2.
So, this is a fairly demoralising loss for Australia – one that the respective Team IMPACT numbers of 1.62 (Sri Lanka) and 1.05 (Australia) reflect.
Given that the last final will also be played on this pitch, the slow-and-low conditions may well favour Sri Lanka, not that they need extraneous encouragement after the momentum-boost they got today. It will be interesting to see how this young Australian side responds to this challenge – it might provide the most reliable cue to how far that team is likely to go in the future.
For more information, please go to www.impactindexcricket.com