six players to watch when Sri Lanka face Australia
Unsurprisingly, Labuschagne has had an impressive start to his ODI career after making his debut in early 2020. He has a century and four fifties in his 15 innings with a healthy strike-rate of 91.51 – that latter figure important in a batting order that Aaron Finch wants to “push the boundaries” of the totals they can achieve. The area of Labuschagne’s game that hasn’t been used much in his short ODI career yet is his legspin – just 9.5 overs across four calls to the bowling crease. With Australia down a couple of allrounders in Mitchell Marsh (calf) and Cameron Green (workload management) at least for the start of the series, Labuschagne could be called on to help fill the fifth bowler requirement.
Maxwell, playing his first ODIs since late 2020, will continue in the No. 7 role that he has occupied with considerable success since the 2020 tour of England. In his last four innings in the position he has made 77, 1, 108 and 59 at a strike-rate of 125.64. However, Australia will be alert to the opportunity to promote him if the situation arises. Although now some time ago, the impact he can have was on display against India in November 2020 when he went in at No. 5 in two matches at the SCG and carved 108 runs off 48 balls. His bowling is also crucial to the balance of the side.
With 18 T20Is and an IPL behind him, Theekshana is something of a known entity in the shortest format. In ODIs, however, he’s only made four appearances. There is no reason why his skills won’t translate to the longer limited-overs format. As seen in numerous powerplays, Theekshana consistently bowls wicket-to-wicket, and batters are reluctant to try big shots against him. And because his line and length is so good, he generally keeps batters quiet, even when he fails to get them out. It’s a tiny sample size, but so far his economy rate in ODIs is 3.77.