Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Australia vs Sri Lanka - a tale of two sides

With hit and giggle over the real stuff commences and this author is somewhat buoyed ahead of an important series between Sri Lanka and Australia. Obviously the 20/20s tell little if anything but perhaps the ODIs provide a little information. With regard to batting the top order have significant time to build an innings; with this in mind it appears Watson has carried on and Ponting has found some touch. Clarke has also batted well which bodes well as those who have played in the subcontinent will be pivotal in providing advice on how to handle slow and low pitches. Of course, a factor to consider is the different fields set in ODIs and so gleanings from such games must be made with caution.

In terms of bowling two chief pacers in Bollinger and Lee aren't in the test squad anyway but for mine the most important bowler will be the spinner. If the spinner gets whacked and can't bowl 1/3 of the innings' overs then the quicks will tire and Aus will be in the field for two days at a time chasing leather hit by Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan. I'm picking Lyon as the man Clarke goes to; if for no other reason than because Aus have a habit now of picking the last guy you'd expect.

Aus will no doubt be happy Malinga doesn't play tests anymore but it was always going to be Herath/Mendis who held the key. Samaraweera is a quality batsman and could surprise many by scoring shed loads from 5 or 6. Pattison should have played more than just the 1 ODI but we can expect him to play in the 3 day warm-up game (yes, only one!). Copeland is likely to get a guernesy too with Johnson rested so the pace attack for the first test will be Johnson, Harris and either Pattison or Copeland with Siddle an outsider (of course I could be wrong). Not fair on Sids but he may well be the journey man for his whole career. The problem with having such a different bowling lineup between the ODIs and test squads - coupled with only 1 practice game - is few opportunities for bowlers to get used to conditions. How they bowl is more important than how many wickets they get and Copeland, Siddle, Pattison and Harris have precious little time to understand where you bowl in the subcontinent. India has just learnt the hard way the cost of not acclimatising appropriately. Noone has an excuse after England's preparation leading into the last summer's Ashes and the results were there for all to see.

Sri Lanka are always hard to beat at home and will look forward to putting their tour of England behind them. Aus have many young players starting their career in Kahawaja and the bowlers already mentioned. We can expect at least one draw so gaining the ascendancy is all-important and then driving the advantage home paramount. I'm tipping 1 all with Sri Lanka winning the 2nd and Aus the third. I've barely touched on Hughes/Marsh/Kahwaja but this can be done by others. Hussey? I've stopped talking about him nowadays. He just responds with tons and I don't believe this tour will be any different.

Down the Wicket


  1. i think you are right on the money there Lefty.

    After i not-so-proudly condemened Aus before the start of the Ashes (i actually do hate to say i told you so to those that doubted my forecast of doom) i actually see a ray of hope in this series.

    the ability to keep heads down through the batting order is the first good sign for mine. Ponting (as predicted) has swatted away the weight of captaincy now and need only do one thing - bat. Of course he is a phenominal fielder, but i think that comes more naturally to his temperament than his batting so i can't see why that wouldn't be status quo.

    I for one am unsure of how the bowling line up will look. Certainly the spin thing coming from left field would follow CA's usual modus operandi, but Doherty's good showing in ODI might see him more in contention than Lyon... but it is hard to forget his Adelaide show!

    While Siddle is a solid workhorse, his number one weapon - hitting the deck hard for full but steepling bounce- will probably be negatted by the tracks played on. If he gets a go, it could just break his post Whoville xmas Grinch heart!
    who can say?

    Unless one of the younger bowlers has a brain explosion and complete meltdown, it is time to give them some responsibility regardless of how they get treated and see them work their way into the line up with some hard graft. I think there is more honour losing an away series when the home team are usually more favoured but gaining a swag of experience than clinging on to threads of a once glorious past.

    stoph verismo
    down the wicket

  2. Well written Lefty.

    With such a young squad of both batters and bowlers this series could well be decided on day one of the first test.

    Bowl first and be one for plenty and the young bowlers could believe all the hype about sub-continent pitches, drop their heads and go for more.

    Bat first and get rolled cheaply by the spinners and the young batters could well suffer from the same.

    Myself I think we will start well and bat for too long to get a result in the first test. I can't see us taking twenty wickets though.