Home > News >

Preview: Sri Lanka eye first-ever Test win in Australia

Preview: Sri Lanka eye first-ever Test win in Australia

Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne during a team’s training session ahead of the first Test © Getty Images

Hobart: Dec 13, 2012

Sri Lanka are putting their faith in the remnants of their “golden generation” as they target their first ever Test win in Australia in the three-match series starting on Friday.

Thirty-somethings Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera, who form the core of Sri Lanka’s batting, are shaping as Sri Lanka’s best chance of breaking their 10-Test, 25-year winless record.

Sangakkara, 35, the international cricketer of the year, would not be drawn on whether this will be his last trip to Australia, but he said an elusive Test win was a prime motivator for the team elders.

“When you do get older, you do look for achievements where you haven’t really tasted victory so, here and in India, (there are) Test matches still to win,” Sangakkara said in Hobart.

“That’s a great motivator for guys like Dilshan, Mahela, myself and Samaraweera. “We’re the older brigade. But whether we get it or not, the key is to really contribute to the side.”

Since being hammered in their first Test in Australia in early 1988, Sri Lanka have lost another seven matches and drawn two, most recently in Cairns in 2004. They have also never won a Test in India.

Sri Lanka’s hopes appear to rest on their batsmen providing enough runs to upset Michael Clarke’s Australia, the world number three Test side, who are embarking on their first series since the retirement of Ricky Ponting.

Their bowling has been hit by the Test retirements of Lasith Malinga, Chaminda Vaas and the 800-wicket Muttiah Muralitharan. Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, with 62 wickets from 16 Tests, was passed over for the tour.

Dilshan, 36, admits he is unlikely to have another chance to win a Test in Australia and acknowledges time is running out for him and his team-mates.

“Definitely. For me I think this is my last tour (in Australia) in Test cricket. This is a real challenge for everyone,” he said.

“We’ve never won a Test match here. If we can win a Test match it’s great for the team and the country.

“It’s never easy when you’re playing Australia because the conditions are different. But we’re looking forward to a great run with them in this series.”

Much of Sri Lanka’s hopes are pinned on the batting of veteran trio Jayawardene, Sangakkara and opener Dilshan, who urged the top order to make runs or risk being whitewashed in the series.

“Definitely in the top order someone has to put their hands up and put some big runs on the board, to help the middle order and the tailenders,” the opener said.

“That’s our target. The top order should make some runs this series. It’s really important that Mahela and Sanga come into form. They’re two experienced guys in the side.”

However, Sri Lanka’s lead-in form does not augur well with just four victories in their last 20 Tests. Their last away series win was in Bangladesh in 2008, and their current Test ranking is a lowly sixth.

Australia are coming off a 309-run drubbing by world number one South Africa this month, and Hobart will be the first chance for their new-look batting line-up after the record-breaking Ponting retired with 13,378 Test runs.

Phil Hughes returns to the Australian squad at the ground where he was dropped after their shock loss to New Zealand a year ago, with a likely role at number three instead of opening the innings.

“This is the ground where things probably didn’t pan out perfectly on a personal note,” Hughes said this week. “Twelve months down the track, I feel like I’m in a better place now.”

All-rounder Shane Watson has said he will be given the first opportunity to fill Ponting’s vacancy in the batting order at number four against Sri Lanka.

“(Coach) Mickey Arthur talked to me at the end of the last (Perth) Test to say the way it was looking, they were going to move me down to four,” Watson told reporters.

The series continues in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by Sydney, starting on January 3.

Teams:

Australia (Probable): Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Jacques, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Michael Hussey, John Hastings, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon.

Sri Lanka (Probable): Tharanga Paranavitana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Dhammika Prasad, Shaminda Eranga.

Time: 10.30 local (05.00 IST)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Shaun Udal on India vs England 3rd Test

South Africa win series against Sri Lanka 1-0; move to No 1 in ICC Test rankings

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 2 at Southampton: India end Day 2 at 25/1, trail by 544 runs

12 little-known facts about Garry Sobers

Pankaj Singh and other Test cricketers from Rajasthan

Mike Griffith: My choice of Mike Gatting as President of MCC was all about timing

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test: Spinners bowled their hearts out, says Angelo Mathews after series loss

ICC investigating Moeen Ali’s Gaza wristbands

Pankaj Singh: Playing Tests for India was my biggest dream

India vs England 3rd Test at Souhampton: Wicket is easy for batsmen, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

India vs England 3rd Test at Souhampton: Have been playing well, was frustrating without big score, says Ian Bell

Moeen Ali wears ‘Save Gaza’ band: Instances where cricketers made political statements on the field

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Jos Buttler’s blitz, Ian Bell’s century and other highlights from Day 2

India’s many dropped catches at slips against England

South Africa: The fourth innings champions

Sourav Ganguly-Jagmohan Dalmiya saga timeline

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Pankaj Singh: Playing Tests for India was my biggest dream

Spotted: Kareena Kapoor in a stunning avatar during Singham Returns promotions!

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Woman delivers at hospital gate in Delhi, probe ordered

Eid-ul-Fitr 2014: 7 practices that are followed on the Feast of Breaking the Fast

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Weightlifter Vikas Thakur wins 12th silver for India in the Commonwealth Games 2014

OnePlus One headed to India: Here’s why it is a flagship killer

Entertainment song Teri Mahima Aprampaar: Udit Narayan’s rendition reminds you of old Akshay Kumar songs!

India vs England 3rd Test at Souhampton: Wicket is easy for batsmen, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here