The Australian cricket team are touring Sri Lanka for a 3-match test series commencing July 26. The Aussies have arrived and have won a three-day practice match against the Sri Lankan XI by an innings and 162 runs. The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium will be the venue for the first test while Galle International Stadium and Sinhalese Sports Club Ground are the respective venues for the second and third tests. The final test is scheduled to be played on August 13.
Here’s a preview of the two teams and the players expected to do well for their respective sides...
They are dealing with injury issues at the moment and so they will be making their selection for the test series on a match-by-match basis. Squad for the first test has been announced with Angelo Mathews to lead the team. He along with Dinesh Chandimal are the most experienced of all the batsmen and they will be the key players with the bat.
Since their three frontline fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera, Dhammika Prasad and Shaminda Eranga have been ruled out, the hosts will be depending mostly on the spin of Rangana Herath. The slow and turning nature of the wickets here can make him even more dangerous. Skipper Mathews will have to lead from the front with the ball as well.
They are coming as the no. 1 ranked test team in the world and this Steven Smith-led side will have to win the series in order to retain the top spot. Steve O'Keefe was the standout performer with both the bat and the ball in the warm-up match and he could be included in the playing XI. David Warner, Steven Smith and Adam Voges will be the big guns with the bat for Australia.
Since spin is likely to be more effective on Sri Lankan pitches, O'Keefe could be paired with veteran spinner Nathan Lyon for a dual spin attack. As for pace, Mitchell Starc will be making a comeback after having last played a test back in November 2015. With four wickets in the practice match, he looks fit and good to go.
Australia's last tour of Sri Lanka came five years ago when they beat the hosts 1-0 in a 3-match test series. They have a very strong record against them in Sri Lanka where they have only one defeat in 13 tests. Australia are currently the top-ranked test team while Sri Lanka have been faring rather poorly in this format in recent times. Moreover, injuries to main players have left their side depleted.
Although Sri Lanka will feel more comfortable playing in their home conditions, it is very hard to see them beat the mighty looking Australian side. We, therefore, predict Australia to be the winners of this test series.
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