Sun, 03 Jul 2022

Colombo [Sri Lanka], June 21 (ANI): It's been a busy few days for Kusal Mendis but the in-form batter is expected to be passed fit to take on Australia as Sri Lanka looks to break a 30-year drought in the fourth game of their ODI series in Colombo on Tuesday.

Mendis was suffering from bad cramps when he had to retire hurt on 87 at a crucial point of Sri Lanka's successful run chase in the third match of the series on Sunday, but the right-hander has made solid progress physically since that game.

The 27-year-old even recovered quickly enough to make it to Colombo Private Hospital on Monday morning to meet his first child, after his wife Nishell had given birth to a baby girl on Sunday night.

With the news of a new family member put on hold for the time being, Mendis is likely to play a pivotal role in helping Sri Lanka clinch their first bilateral ODI series victory over Australia at home since 1992 when the two teams meet again at R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.

Mendis is the leading run-scorer of the series with two half-centuries and a total of 209 runs to his name and Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka knows what is at stake in Tuesday's match.

"It is a great chance for this team to pull out a series win," Shanaka said.

"It was 1992 the last time we beat Australia in a bilateral ODI series at home. They are one of the best sides in the world and we hope we can take the next step, " added Shanaka.

It looks likely that Sri Lanka will resist the urge to tinker with a winning formula and stick with the same XI that defeated Australia by six wickets with a record-run chase on Sunday.

That means star spinner Wanindu Hasaranga will be watching on as he recovers from his groin injury, with spinning duties likely to remain with in-form duo Jeffrey Vandersay and Dunith Wellalage.

The pair combined for four Australian wickets on Sunday, while opposing spinner Matthew Kuhnemann failed to pick up a Sri Lankan scalp during 10 expensive overs.

Australia are likely to re-shuffle their playing XI slightly as they attempt to level the series at two games apiece, with star quicks Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in contention to return.

Fellow seamer Josh Hazlewood may be rested ahead of the two-match Test series commencing later this month, while Steve Smith is still battling a quad complaint and is unlikely to be risked. (ANI)

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