SRI LANKA AGAINST THE ODDS IN TOUR OPENER

Published : 10:14 am  July 26, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (546) reads | 

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Sri Lanka–Australia series that gets underway today with the first Test match at the Pallekele International Stadium will be an acid test for hosts Sri Lanka. The odds are against them due to the fact that there are no big names — in the calibre of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena who retired last year — while Rangana Herath is the only player in the team from when Sri Lanka won their only Test match against the Aussies way back in 1999 at Asgiriya, which was also his test debut. Sri Lanka is in transition and a daunting task lies ahead for them as they look to compete with the number one ranked Test team who are coming into the game with confidence after their convincing win in the three-day game against a Sri Lankan XI.

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Sri Lanka’s batting looks confident with openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva having had a successful stint in England and much will be expected from Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal in the middle order and then skipper Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera to bolster the late order batting. Of course Sri Lanka will be pinning their hopes on Rangana who has been successful on home turf though the bowling department suffered another set back with the unavailability of Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera and Suranga Lakmal all nursing injuries. With a depleted pace bowling attack for Sri Lanka the spinners are left to carry the burden.

There could also be debuts for one or two players from the home team, in the likes of Dhananjaya de Silva, who is almost certain, or Roshen Silva, while Vishwa Fernando or Asitha Fernando, who were brought down from the Sri Lanka ‘A’ tour in England seemingly in line for inclusion. The final decision between the two will be taken this morning. The Australians have in their batting ranks a leader in Steven Smith, a batsman with an average of 60, to guide them followed by David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Peter Nevill, Joe Burns and Adam Voges.The Aussie bowling attack looks threatening with the right and left arm pace combination of Mitchell Marsh and Mitchell Starc, and they will most probably go in with two spinners in Steve O’ Keefe, who bagged a ten-wicket haul in teh warm-up game, and their ace spinner Nathan Lyon who is just five wickets away from 200 test wickets.

Sri Lanka has been able to win only one Test match from the 26 Tests played between the two teams while Australia has been successful with 17 wins with eight drawn. Australia swept the board 3-0 in the last Test series played between the two sides in Australia in 2013 and the visitors will be looking to maintain that feat in the three Test series.

The Teams (from):

SRI LANKA – Angelo Mathews (Capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Rangana Herath, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando, Nuwan Pradeep, Roshen Silva, Lakshan Sandakan, Asitha Fernando AUSTRALIA – Steven Smith (Capt), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns, Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Steve O’Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazelwood, Shaun Marsh, Jackson Bird, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Moises Henriques.