By BV Swagath
The first of the 3-match Test Series between Australia and Sri Lanka begins on Friday at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. Australia after losing a hard-fought series against South Africa not so long ago will find it pretty easy against Sri Lanka, who have been poor visitors outside their island nation.
For the record, Sri Lanka are yet to win a Test Match in Australia and they do not look that threatening this time around as well. But we cannot rule out an upset as Sri Lanka does have an experienced batting quartet of Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Samaraweera. Sri Lanka will desperately need its batting to click big time to put up a contest in the Warne-Muralidaran Trophy.
Sri Lanka’s last Test Series in Australia was sometime back in 2007/08 when they were whitewashed 0-2 in the short 2-match Series. The pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara had found success in that series and they will once again be the guiding factor for the Lankans on this tour. The bowling could be considered weak as the attack comprises mostly of the medium pacers who shouldn’t be hurrying up the Aussies unlike the South Africans.
Australia would find this series as a reprieve after their high intensity contest against the World No.1 team South Africa. The Aussies are in the transition stage following the retirement of a number of great players and recently Ricky Ponting has hung his boots. In his place comes, left-hander Phil Hughes who will be batting at no.3 while Shane Watson takes Ponting’s batting spot at no.4.
Australia Squad: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shane Watson, Nathan Lyon, Michael Clarke (Captain), Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade (Wicket Keeper), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes
Sri Lanka Squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (Captain), Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene (Wicket Keeper), Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal, Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Pradeep, Dimuth Karunaratne, Chanaka Welegedara