Sri Lanka aim for 1st Test win in Australia

2019-01-23 07:57
Dimuth Karunaratne (AP)

Brisbane - Sri Lanka may have its best chance to win a cricket Test in Australia when it faces an unsettled Australian line-up in a day-night match in Brisbane from Thursday. 

The teams have met only 13 times in Australia since Sri Lanka joined the ranks of Test nations and the home team has won 11 of those matches, the other two having been drawn. 

Sri Lanka last toured Australia six years ago, losing that series, but when the teams last met in Sri Lanka in 2016, Sri Lanka won the series 3-0. 

Those results point to the fact that both teams struggle in the other's conditions. But the first day-night Test between the teams may have a levelling effect. Sri Lanka won it's only previous day-night Test, against the West Indies in Barbados last year. 

The visitors may also count in their favour the current instability in the Australia team. Australia's Test line-up has been in a state of flux in recent years, a condition made worse by the suspensions for ball-tampering of Captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft. 

The national selectors have struggled to assemble a consistent Test unit in recent seasons, elevating and discarding some players with dizzying rapidity. 

Fast bowler Jhye Richardson and batsmen Will Pucovski and Kurtis Patterson are in line for test debuts and if all three are selected they will bring to 53 the number of debutants Australia has fielded in the last decade, more than twice the number of the previous 10 years. 

Australia has used 63 players in test matches since 2009 and 21 in the last year alone as Smith, Warner and Bancroft's suspensions have added to a period of upheaval.

That has often forced the selectors to call-up players from Australia's domestic first class competition much earlier than in the past. 

Pucovski, named in Australia's test squad at the age of 20 and after only eight first class matches, is competing with four others for three places in the Australia batting line-up. 

Australia coach Justin Langer has admitted he has concerns about players being pushed too early into test cricket. 

"There's always those considerations," he said in a radio interview. "You weigh it up and it's all that's on your mind really. But (Pucovski) is a terrific young bloke. 

"We've seen in the past a young Damien Martyn, or a young Ricky Ponting, or a young Michael Clarke come into the Australian team. If he plays or not, it's a great learning experience for him." 

Sri Lanka's line-up has a more stable look, though it contains only three players who were involved in the previous series in Australia in 2012-2013. Injuries to Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Pradeep have removed some experience. 

Sri Lanka's batting line-up has a more tested look than Australia's with Dimuth Karunaratne at the top of the order, to be followed by Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal. 

Sri Lanka's bowling resources should also not be under-estimated, led by the experienced Suranga Lakmal and including the greater pace of Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, and Dushmantha Chameera. Australia's pace attack has been hit with the withdrawal of Josh Hazlewood, who has a back injury. 

In trying to beat Australia, Sri Lanka might adopt the blueprint of the India team which has just completed its first test series win in Australia. 

"It's one of the major things we looked at, the areas which they had bowled," Sri Lanka bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake said. "It's just making the bowlers believe that whatever their bowlers can do and the other teams can do, we also can do. That belief is something we are trying to work on at the moment."


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

The 12-month ban handed down to Steve Smith and David Warner and the 9-month sanction for Cameron Bancroft for their ball-tampering roles, is ...

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.