Sydney, Mar 7: Having had similar results till now, Australia and Sri Lanka will be looking for bragging rights before heading into quarter-finals when they take on each other in a Pool A match of the ICC World Cup, here tomorrow.
World Cup Special; Points Table
With New Zealand comfortably perched at the top of the group table, co-hosts Australia and 1996 champions Sri Lanka are now fighting it out for a possible second-place finish and avoid a last-eight collision with South Africa.
Having won three of their four ODIs, Sri Lanka are just a point ahead of the Michael Clarke-led side, which is fresh from a 275-run mauling of minnows Afghanistan. Sri Lanka are also in top form having humbled England by 9 wickets in their last game.
Chasing a 310-run target in Wellington, Sri Lanka showed no signs of panic as a clinical batting display saw them canter to their target in 47.2 overs. The two centurions of that game, Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara also feature in the top-10 run-scorers list in the tournament so far, led by West Indies' Chris Gayle.
Sangakkara believes the game is crucial for both the sides. "A side that has won every one of their games, maybe they don't have to worry too much, but when you're not in that situation, you might start thinking about who you'll face in the quarter-finals and whether these wins have any bearing on what happens there," Sangakkara said.
For, Sri Lanka, spinner Rangana Herath will miss the game with a finger injury while batsman Dimuth Karunaratne suffered a tournament-ending broken finger batting in the nets.
Australia, four-time champions, on the other hand were hard done by a rained-off game against Bangladesh and a one-wicket loss to New Zealand.
But their spirited pace attack led by Mitchell Starc, who is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament so far, will be looking to check the Lankan batting at the SCG.
However, the Aussies will miss the services of pacer Pat Cummins, who is nursing a lower back stress. I think Sri Lanka are going to be a really tough team to beat. They like the SCG and they're playing some really good cricket. They've got experience and I think that's always an important part of a good team in major tournaments," Clarke said.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sachithra Senanayake, Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper), Jeevan Mendis, Upul Tharanga, Rangana Herath.
Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty.
Match starts at 9 AM IST