The hosts backed up their 134-run win at Adelaide Oval on Sunday with a nine-wicket victory at the Gabba on Wednesday, wrapping up the three-match series with a game to play in the process.
Here are five things we learned from the massive win.
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DAVID WARNER PRIMED FOR A HUGE T20 SEASON
David Warner’s seeing the white ball alright at the moment. He’s scored 160 runs this series without getting out at a strike rate of 164.94 and collected back-to-back man-of-the-match awards.
With the World Cup less than a year away, it’s form that bodes well for Australia.
It’s form that is chalk and cheese with what he produced in the Ashes, but it’s worth remembering Warner went into that series with just one first-class match to prepare himself. He’s spent the past 18 months fine-tuning his game in the shortest format, dominating as many T20 tournaments as he could.
He’s made more than 1000 runs in T20I cricket this year (1075 at 67.18, strike rate of 143.71) and that’s come from just 21 innings. Only four batsmen have scored more runs than him in T20 cricket this year. From those 21 innings, the left-hander has only failed to pass 50 seven times.
SPIN TWINS DELIVER THE GOODS
What do nine of the top 10 ranking Twenty20 international bowlers have in common? They are all spinners, with Australia’s own Adam Zampa sitting at No.6. He’s behind five other spinners on that list, with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan No.1.
Suffice to say, while the quicks may be the difference in ODIs (eight of the 10 top) and Tests (nine of the top 10), the game’s shortest format is dominated by the tweakers. The numbers say as much too. Since the 2016 World Twenty20, four of the top five – and the entirety of the top three – wicket-takers in T20Is are spinners.
If you’re going to be a successful team in Twenty20 cricket, you need spin bowlers you can rely on to keep things tight and take wickets. In Zampa and Ashton Agar, Australia has just that. The tweakers took two wickets each at the Gabba, with Zampa finishing with match-best figures of 2-20 from his four overs. The leggie had both Wanindu Hasaranga and Lasith Malinga stumped, rewarded on both occasions for not only changing his pace and flight but throwing it wider.
Agar was similarly rewarded for mixing it up, beating Avishka Fernando with a slower, flighted delivery and bowling Kusal Perera – Sri Lanka’s best batsman on the day – with an arm-ball. He finished with a more than tidy 2-27 from his full allotment. Across the first two matches of this series they have been Australia’s best bowlers – Zampa (five wickets at 6.80, 4.25 an over), Agar (three wickets at 13.33, 5.0 an over).
There are stiffer tests to come, but if the pair can maintain the rage then Australia has found its spinners for the World Cup which is now less than a year away on and on home soil.
BILLY STANLAKE BOOSTS HIS WORLD T20 CASE
Towering Queenslander Billy Stanlake did his World T20 chances no harm at the Gabba, claiming tidy figures of 2-23 from his four overs.
The 24-year-old has drifted in and out of Australia’s limited-overs sides, paying the price for failing to string together consistent performances in the green and gold.
At his best, Stanlake is one of the most fearsome bowlers Australia has to offer with his combination of sheer pace and bounce making him a scary proposition. But it’s his tendency to lose his radar and bowl expensive spells that has kept his spot up in the air.
With Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins brought back into the T20 fold as next year’s World Cup nears, Stanlake’s window into the XI has narrowed further.
He wasn’t picked for the first match against Sri Lanka, but was called up for the second as Starc took leave to attend his brother’s wedding.
And he largely made the opportunity count, bowling on a perfect length to nick Dhanushka Gunathilaka’s off-bail before having Dasun Shanaka caught down leg-side off a short ball.
Stanlake’s figures didn’t tell the full story given more than half the runs he conceded came from a three-ball period in which Gunathilaka briefly took him to task. Outside of those three balls, Stanlake took 2-11 from 21 deliveries.
STEVE SMITH HAS AN IMPORTANT PURPOSE
Steve Smith was surplus to requirements at Adelaide Oval and with a T20I average of 21.55 and strike rate of 122.44 there has been some conjecture over whether he actually fits into Australia’s best XI in the format.
On Wednesday he came out and showed just what his job in this team is.
Smith has been the world’s greatest safety blanket for Australia’s Test team – a man who can be equally relied upon whether the side is in a crisis or cruising. In the T20 arena Australia has other men capable of capitalising on a good start.
What Smith is needed for in T20s is to stabilise the innings when the going gets tough. To stop the bleeding before it’s really started.
He did just that at the Gabba, coming out in the first over after Aaron Finch fell for a duck. Playing his first T20I since the last World Cup, Smith cruised to an unbeaten 52 off 35 balls, making sure Australia made easy work of a chase of 118.
ALSO, HIS STANDARDS ARE RIDICULOUSLY HIGH
This wasn’t even a half-chance. A quarter-chance, maybe. Perhaps even less.
Not that that mattered to Smith. He was filthy with himself.
As narrow as the chance was, Australia could have made the perfect start to the match by removing opener Kusal Mendis in the first over.
Mendis cut Kane Richardson hard and in the air towards backward point where Smith was fielding. The cricket freak was, as ever, alert to it and flew at full stretch to get his right hand to the ball.
It didn’t stick, although it would have been a forgivable drop to just about everybody — except for Smith.
He was reeling, punching the ground twice — once with each hand — before taking a knee to contemplate the catch that could have been.
Several shakes of the head followed as Smith struggled to rid himself of the disappointment. The standards he expects of himself are sky high.