Australia lose openers early

Seekkuge Prasanna

On a pitch that many felt looked more like SSC than SCG, Australia won the toss and gladly took the opportunity to bat first. The surface looked bone dry, and was expected to offer help to spinners.

Australia made changes accordingly. Xavier Doherty replaced Josh Hazlewood, and Shane Watson, who can bowl some mean cutters on such pitches, came in for Mitchell Marsh.

Sri Lanka made three changes, two of them forced by injuries and one tactical looking at the pitch. Rangana Herath and Dimuth Karunaratne were not available, making way for Sachithra Senanayake and Upul Tharanga. They also left out Suranga Lakmal for legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna.

The winner of the match was almost certain to finish second in Group A, which would mean avoiding South Africa in the quarter-final.

Australia 1 Aaron Finch, 2 David Warner, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Michael Clarke (capt.), 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Shane Watson, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Mitchell Starc, 11 Xavier Doherty

Sri Lanka 1 Lahiru Thirimanne, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Angelo Mathews (capt.), 7 Upul Tharanga, 8 Sachithra Senanayake, 9 Thisara Perara, 10 Seekkuge Prasanna, 11 Lasith Malinga

(ESPN Cricinfo / Pix by Reuters)