The Sri Lanka Women’s Cricket Team are set to take on the touring Australian Women (Southern Stars) in a 4 ODI, 1 T20I series that will commence on Sunday, 18th September. The ODIs are scheduled to be played at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium and the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium while the sole T20I will be played at the Sinhalese Sports Club Grounds.
Three of the four ODIs will be counted for points in the ICC Women’s Championship. Australia are currently sitting pretty at the top of the Championship table with 24 points and are just a win away from gaining automatic qualification for the Women’s World Cup in 2017. Sri Lanka have just 5 points under their belt and are at the bottom of the table, in 8th place. The top 4 teams will gain direct entry to the World Cup while the bottom 4 teams will go into a World Cup Qualifier with 6 other regional teams, with the top 4 from the qualifier moving on the main draw.
The two teams have never played a bi-lateral series prior to this and have only met in 4 International games (3 ODIs and 1 T20I) with the Australians taking all 4 games comfortably. The 1st time the teams met was at the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand where the Southern Stars registered a convincing 200 run victory. The Southern Stars won their next two encounters against Sri Lanka by 8 and 9 wickets respectively. The sole T20I between the two teams was their most recent encounter at the World T20 Championship earlier this year where the Stars once again triumphed comfortably despite a nervy start with the ball.
Despite never having been beaten by the Lankans, Australian skipper Meg Lanning was wary of threat posed by the home team.
“I think International Women’s Cricket, the level of Cricket being played is certainly improving and we’re going to bring our best and play extremely well to beat Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lankan skipper Chamari Atapattu however was pretty confident that the team would be able to do something special during this tour, emphasizing on the fact that Sri Lanka’s spinners would be tough to handle.
“When compared to our team, they a few stronger players who can clear the boundary, but since we are playing in Sri Lanka, we have a big opportunity, particularly with our spinners, to restrict them.”
“We are really looking forward to this, especially when we look back at the game in the WT20, we gave Australia a tough fight. We have the belief that we can win this series.”
As we saw during the recently concluded Australian men’s tour to the island, the conditions are sure to play a part in every match, particularly with spin being the home team’s main strength, but according to Lanning, the Aussies are well prepared for the spin barrage.
“We’ve certainly trained a lot for spin and slower bowling, so we are as ready as we can be but the important thing is implementing and being able to adapt in the game. That’s going to be our biggest challenge, so we’re looking forward to doing that and executing as best as we can.”
The hosts will be minus their regular skipper Shashikala Siriwardene, adding on to the responsibilities of Atapattu who is the team’s best batter and has also been a consistent performer with the ball of late. A few changes in the squad have seen opener Yasoda Mendis and Oshadi Ranasinghe being left out, while Inoshi Fernando, Imalka Mendis, Chamari Polgampola and Inoka Ranaweera have returned to the squad after missing out on the WT20.
Sri Lanka Women’s squad
Chamari Atapattu (capt), Prasadani Weerakkody, Dilani Manodara, Nipuni Hansika, Chamari Polgampola, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Udeshika Prabodhani, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandika Kumari, Achini Kulasuriya, Inoshi Priyadharshani, Imalka Mendis, Ama Kanchana, Harshitha Madavi
Australia have brought in all-rounder Grace Harris and opener Nicole Bolton in place of Lauren Cheatle and Sarah Coyte with the other 12 players having been part of the squad that emerged as runners-up in the WT20 earlier this year.
Australia Women’s squad
Meg Lanning (capt), Alex Blackwell Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani