Sri Lanka have lost the first two Tests against Australia and will look to salvage some pride in the dead rubber at Sydney © Getty Images

Sydney: Jan 1, 2013

After a huge loss against Australia in the Boxing Day Test, Sri Lankan coach Graham Ford defended the decision to take a day off just two days before the start of the final Test at Sydney.

While many would say that Sri Lanka desperately needed to get their act together and train harder than before, Ford believes his team deserved a break.

With numerous players falling prey to injuries, Ford said that he needed to monitor their workload and said that the team’s preparation has been good.

The Sri Lankans flew to Sydney and trained on Monday, while the Australians were enjoying a rest day. Ford clarified that the motivation in the Sri Lankan camp was still high and the team is looking for redemption in the dead rubber. He also added that having New Year’s Day off was not a sign of lack of intensity.

“We actually had a really good training session yesterday,” Ford said, as reported by Sydney Morning Herald.

“We changed our arrangements a little bit and came through early yesterday and got a really good session in.
“With the amount of cricket that we’ve been playing, it was just felt that to have three solid days in a row would be a little bit too much.

“We’d rather make sure the practices are high quality. So a bit of time out today and we’ll get stuck in tomorrow.

“I think the guys have hurt pretty badly after the last performance and are very determined to bounce back and do something special in this Test.”

The injured duo of Prasanna Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara will undergo a fitness test on the eve of the Sydney Test while star batsman Kumar Sangakkara and Chanaka Welegedara are ruled out.

Dinesh Chandimal will fill in as the wicket keeper if Jayawardene fails the fitness test while Lahiru Thirimanne will come in for Sangakkara.

“The injuries have been a tough thing to manage – some of the guys are showing signs of improvement,” Ford said.

“We have got Suranga Lakmal (fast bowler) and Lahiru Thirimanne (batsman) to come in as replacements.
“We’ll see how things go tomorrow in practice in terms of injuries. There are one or two with a bit of throat infection and flu symptoms as well.

“Hopefully everyone will be fit and strong tomorrow.”