Tour review

Australia vs Sri Lanka, 2019-20

Andrew Wu

Twenty20 internationals (3): Australia 3, Sri Lanka 0

The previous Australian season had ended with Sri Lanka being walloped in a couple of Tests, and the new one started in similar fashion, with a shellacking in three Twenty20s. It was a mark of the low regard in which Australia had held the shortest format that this was their first series victory over Sri Lanka at home. In their previous 20-over series here, in February 2017, the Sri Lankans had faced a makeshift side, as the main Australian team were in India preparing for a Test series. The board had to appoint stand-ins as captain and coach. They chose well: this time, Justin Langer and Aaron Finch were in permanent charge.

Those who believe T20 is a better spectacle at franchise level gathered plenty of ammunition during this one-sided series. The fact that the next Twenty20 World Cup was due to be played in Australia 12 months later should have provided some context - but there was little interest in the three games.

Although Lasith Malinga returned as captain, along with some senior players who had opted out of Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan, his side were otherwise relatively inexperienced, and had just one warm-up game. That was against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra, a gentle affair in which the PM himself, Scott Morrison, ran the drinks.

Predictably, the Sri Lankans struggled when the real thing came around. Only Kusal Perera scored more than 21, while the bowlers claimed just six wickets between them. Even though it was the first time locals could see Steve Smith and David Warner in action after their ball-tampering bans, the turnstiles were hardly spinning. It was the earliest start to a home summer since 2005-06, and TV coverage was behind a paywall, which reduced awareness.

A few weeks after being made to look a novice by Stuart Broad in the Ashes, Warner clobbered 100, 60 and 57 without being dismissed. The subject of mental health among elite sportsmen resurfaced with the news that Glenn Maxwell, one of the format's most popular players, needed timeout to deal with issues. At Adelaide, Maxwell clouted 62, though it transpired that he had opened up about his turmoil to Langer only the day before.

© John Wisden & Co