Sri Lanka continue the batting collapse trend, losing three out of three

Half centuries from Inglis and Marsh, and a 4 wicket haul by Zampa allow Australia to get off the mark

The collapse

We have now seen 3 collapses in 3 days, all of them while batting first. This was the worst collapse for Sri Lanka in their World Cup history. Pat Cummins initiated the collapse by dismissing both the openers. He bowled a short ball to cramp Pathum Nissanka, who ended up hooking it to Warner who ran from deep square leg. He came around the wicket to dismiss Kusal Perera with a ball that angled in and gave him no room to free his arms.

Adam Zampa was awful in his first 3 overs. In the post-match interview, he talked about having a back spasm and how he was not at his best today. He also said that he wants to try and keep his wicket-taking attitude. Despite a poor start, he tossed one up to the in-form Mendis who swept it to Warner again. He also used the googly and the slider to get the other three wickets.

Mitchell Starc is inevitable when it comes to taking wickets in Cricket World Cups - he clean-bowled de Silva and Kumara. Glenn Maxwell bowled yet another economical spell. Another plus for Australia today was that they fielded a lot better than the last couple of matches.

Australia finish the chase despite a few hiccups

Although Australia won the game with almost 15 overs to spare, the chase got a bit tricky at the start. Dilshan Madushanka took the early wickets of David Warner and Steve Smith while bowling very economically. You can see here that the Aussies have had a lot of problems against southpaw seam. They will face Shaheen Shah Afridi in the next match, and then the likes of Boult and Topley later in the World Cup

Mitchell Marsh ensured that there was no pressure from the other end with his attacking intent. His run-out could have been a game-changer, but Josh Inglis hit a flurry of boundaries at the start of his innings which did not allow Sri Lanka to come back in the game. He showed why he is rated as a good player of spin in Australia.

We have to talk about Marnus Labuschagne. He is the slowest-scoring batter in this World Cup, and he probably wasn’t the main reason why they lost the first two games. But you can see here that he is significantly slower than the rest of the players on this list. Today was the perfect opportunity for him to kick on after playing 30-35 balls and go for the NRR boost.

Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis finished things off quickly, adding 23 runs in the next 2 overs after Inglis was dismissed.

Kusal Perera’s comeback

Kusal Perera was almost destined to be a Sri Lankan batting great after his Durban masterclass in 2019. In fact, he even had a pretty solid World Cup in 2019 where he scored 273 runs at 39/111. He was given the role of the aggressor up top and he did quite well.

And it is not like Perera was out of form even after the tournament. You can see here that he does pretty well in the few innings he’s played till July of 2021, and then he just disappears from the ODI setup for 2 full years. He had no real case for being dropped from the ODI side. This happens a lot in Sri Lankan cricket, where they just mismanage their young talents and stick with older players who aren’t making runs.

Kusal Perera came back in the Asia Cup this year but he struggled to score. Today was his first meaningful contribution since his return, and he looked in sublime touch. He started at a normal pace in the first ten overs and looked in a very good flow in the middle phase, despite getting hit on his helmet by a Marcus Stoinis bouncer. The pull shot proved to be his most productive option.

Pathum Nissanka in ODIs

While doing the analysis for T20 batters, I observed that Nissanka is an anchor-type batter who is still developing in the format. But when you see him play, you can tell that he is a proper ODI-type batter, especially in a Sri Lankan side that has consistently struggled to put up big totals against quality teams. It is definitely his best format at the moment.

Since his debut, he has the most ODI runs for any Sri Lankan batter.

Nissanka’s most productive shot was the flick. He was also good at rotating the strike. If he can keep that up and start batting a little faster than he does, it would bode well for Sri Lanka in the long run.