Sri Lanka have never won a Test in Australia, leave alone a series. As such, there wouldn’t be plenty of hopes from the island nation as they take on the Australians in Australia. In spite of their poor record though they should be disappointed if they do not put up a fighting show in their latest battle against the Aussies. This is because the current Sri Lankan squad has a few players who can stand up to the Aussie challenge, and give the home side something to ponder up seriously. A look at them and their previous record in Australia.
Kumar Sangakkara: He’ll be Sri Lanka’s go to man in the series for sure. Sangakkara has the experience and, more importantly, the proper technique to handle the challenging condition his side would face in Australia. The elegant left-hander is among the rare breed of players from Sri Lanka to have tasted success in Australia. In three Tests that Sangakkara has featured in Australia, he has amassed 391 runs at an excellent average of 65.16 with the highest of a magnificent 192. That Sangakkara has played only three games in Australia over the years is proof of how little Lanka play in Australia, but even in those Tests, Sangakkara has proved his worth.
Mahela Jayawardene: It is official now that Jayawardene will step down as Lanka’s Test captain following the series against Australia, and a win in Australia is something he would dearly love under his belt before he finishes his stint as captain once and for all. Like Sangakkara, Jayawardene has featured in only a handful of Tests in Australia. In four games, he has scored 274 runs at a disappointing average of 34.25 and one hundred. As such, Jayawardene would be keen to improve on his record as both captain and player in Australia.
Tillakaratne Dilshan: His role in the team would be extremely significant considering he is the experienced of the two openers. If Dilshan can get his side off to some good starts, the task for the experienced middle-order batsmen would become that much easier. Dilshan has played only a couple of Tests in Australia and has failed to set the stage on fire, averaging 29. Dilshan has had obvious weaknesses against the moving ball, but the Lankans would be hoping he can call in all his experience into play and made a big difference to the side’s fortunes.
Rangana Herath: Spinners aren’t expected play a major hand in games in Australia, but this left-arm spinner from Sri Lanka has done so well for his side in the last year that he is being seen as a big player as the Lankans try to upset the home side, the favourites. Herath played a significant role in Lanka’s historic win at Durban, and being so Lanka would be bolstered by his presence. Can the left-arm spinner recreate some magic in Australia?
The Aussies would begin as favourites no doubt, but Lanka would be disappointed if they don’t compete.
--By A Cricket Analyst