Cricket 2 years ago

Gets tougher for Aussies in Galle: Smith

  • Gets tougher for Aussies in Galle: Smith

    Australia's captain Steven Smith asks for a review during the fifth and the final day of their openin Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on July 30, 2016. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The good news for Australia is they don't have to wait long to rebound from their first Test flop; the bad news is it's probably only going to get harder.

Steve Smith's No.1-ranked side were humbled by 106 runs in the first Test in Kandy on Saturday in just their second loss to Sri Lanka in 27 matches.

Few saw it coming - Australia hadn't lost a Test in a year and an inexperienced and relatively unproven Sri Lanka were coming off a dismal tour of England.

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While Kusal Mendis can take all the credit for resurrecting Sri Lanka's hopes with his brilliant second-innings 176, it was their spinners who started and finished the job.

Australia made totals of 203 and 161, not enough to win anywhere in the world.

Australia's batsmen were outwitted mainly by the hosts' two left-armers who are at opposing ends of their Test careers.

Rangana Herath, the 38-year-old 71-Test finger spinner led the way, taking match figures of 9-103 with a mix of deliveries that either spin or skid.

In his debut, 25-year-old wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan bagged match figures of 7-107.

His wrong'un fooled the Australians, and some of his stock balls spun a long way - Joe Burns can attest to that.

Skipper Steve Smith isn't hiding from his side's deficiencies against the spinners - Australia have now lost seven away Tests in a row against subcontinental teams.

The latest defeat added to a 2-0 series defeat to Pakistan in 2014 in the UAE - also on typically dry, turning wickets - and a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of India 18 months earlier.

"It is disappointing," said Smith.

"I said before the game that we haven't played well in subcontinent conditions for quite a while now. It's something that under my captaincy I want to change."

Smith and his teammates will need to move quickly to avoid going down 2-0 and relinquishing the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy given Galle is regarded as being the biggest turning and fastest wearing pitch of the three Test venues.

"From the batters point of view we need to find a way to be successful in these conditions," he said.

"We let the spinners into the game a lot more than we probably should have.

"We have got to find a way to play that a lot better (in the second Test) in Galle."

"Galle is the biggest spinning place here in Sri Lanka, or so we've been told so it's going to play a big part again."

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