Any changes made to Australia’s one-day cricket side for Saturday’s fourth match against Sri Lanka will be based on the conditions and not Tuesday’s 78-run defeat, according to coach Tim Nielsen.
Australia has played the same team in all three matches, a faith justified after comfortable victories in the first two games.
But the winning formula deserted the Australians on Tuesday in Hambantota and they go into Saturday’s fourth match at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium knowing defeat will allow Sri Lanka to level the series 2-2.
Nielsen however said he hadn’t even discussed changes and the selection committee would wait until they see the conditions at the Premadasa ground before deciding on the make-up of the team for game four.
“I think all 11 players have done a pretty good job,” Nielsen told AAP.
“We’ll just make sure everyone pulls up well and we’ll have to have a look at the conditions.
“To be honest, we’ve looked at the wicket each time and tried to make a decision on what’s the best XI to use in those particular conditions that were offered.
“We felt like if we had bowled a bit fuller in game three, we could have taken a few early wickets which would have changed the complexion of the game.
“If we could have got a little partnership going at the top, it would have changed the whole complexion of the game also.” Australia travelled from Hambantota to Sri Lanka’s capital on Wednesday and enjoyed a rare day off in Colombo on Thursday. The team will train for the first time at the Premadasa on Friday, giving them one chance to look at the pitch for Saturday’s game before deciding their line-up. One thing Nielsen does know is his charges need to prevent Sri Lanka’s strong top order getting off to as good a start as it did on Tuesday when openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 139 for the first wicket.
Tharanga went on to score 111 in a man-of-the-match display and Nielsen said the 26-year-old was a crucial wicket for his team to snare.
“He played and missed a couple of times but players that are good get through those difficult periods and can go on to get a big score,” Nielsen said of Tharanga.
“The partnership between him and Dilshan certainly set the platform for them to get such a big total.
“I thought we did well to keep them to 286 after they did such a good job at the top. They could easily have had 320 if they had exploded again.
“We know that if we can make inroads in their top order, we’ve got a good chance. Tharanga’s in good form and is critical to their team’s success.”