After an unexpected 3-0 series defeat on the previous tour of Sri Lanka six years ago, Australia expects to bat much better on spin-friendly pitches in the two-test series in Galle starting on Wednesday (June 29). Australia has found playing on Asia’s turning pitches hard in the past but has done well recently, beating Pakistan 1-0 in a three-match series in March. Of more significance, Sri Lanka’s spin attack doesn’t have the experience and variety of the retired Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera, whose combined 43 wickets caused Australia’s downfall in the 2016 series.
“In a lot of ways it will be quite different,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said in comparing the conditions in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. “(Pakistan) was subcontinent but it wasn’t big turn. There was so much we did well over there. We controlled the tempo of the match. In some ways it will be a bigger challenge (in Sri Lanka) when it quickens up faster than Pakistan.”
Sri Lanka can field left-arm spinners Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama and offspinner Ramesh Mendis. Also in the squad is legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay, uncapped in tests. The first three have played only 27 tests combined, but Sri Lanka will be encouraged by how well the spinners performed in the one-day international series it won 3-2.
Sri Lanka’s seam bowlers have been better than the spinners: Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha carried the team to victory in the recent two-test series in Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka vs Australia, 1st Test
Venue: Galle International Stadium, Galle
Date & Time: June 29 to July 3 at 10 AM IST
Live Streaming and TV details: Sony Six Network and SonyLiv website and app
SL vs AUS Dream 11 Prediction
Wicketkeeper: Dinesh Chandimal
Batters: Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja
All-rounders: Cameron Green, Dhananjaya de Silva
Bowlers: Lasith Embuldeniya, Nathan Lyon, Asitha Fernando
Captain: Usman Khawaja
Vice-Captain: Angelo Mathews
SL vs AUS Probable Playing XI
Sri Lanka: Oshada Fernando, Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama/ Lasith Embuldeniya, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh/Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson/ Jon Holland