Cricket 2 years ago

Warner out late in 2nd Sri Lanka Test

  • Warner out late in 2nd Sri Lanka Test

    Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath (L) celebrates with teammates the wicket of Australia's Steve O'Keeffe during the fifth and the final day of the opening 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)

It's time for Australia to confront their subcontinental Test demons again.

Five days after losing the first Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy - their seventh straight Test defeat to teams from the region - Australia's batsmen have the opportunity to bounce back and prove spin bowling on the subcontinent isn't their kryptonite.

The second Test starts in Galle on Thursday with the tourists needing victory if they're to overcome history: Australia have never come back from being 1-0 down to win a three-match series.

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A big improvement in Australia's batting is essential if they're to have any chance after making just 203 and 161 in Kandy.

To do that they'll have to limit Rangana Herath's influence.

The 38-year-old made his Test debut against Australia in 1999 in Galle, where the dry pitch is ideally suited to the left-arm spinner.

Herath, Australia's chief tormentor last week, has claimed 78 wickets at an average of 24.32 at the ground.

"It's obviously different to batting against spin back home (where) you can trust the bounce and trust what the ball's going to do as such," Australian skipper Steve Smith said.

"It's hard to sometimes distinguish which ball is going to skid and which ball is going to spin... if it spins and you nick one so be it, but we didn't lose any wickets on the outside of the bat in the last Test match, so I think you can live with that."

Two touring sides have beaten Sri Lanka in Galle in the last two years, with South Africa's 153-run win in 2014 perhaps providing the best blueprint for Australia.

The Proteas blunted the hosts for 166 overs in making 9(dec)-455 before Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel took 16 wickets between them with a mix of pace and reverse swing.

However, Australia will again take two spinners into the Test after Jon Holland was confirmed as injured Stephen O'Keefe's 'like-for-like' replacement.

Out of the top seven, Mitch Marsh is under most pressure to score runs.

Smith needs 63 runs to reach 4000 in Tests and if he does it in this match he'll become the third-fastest Australian to the milestone behind only Sir Donald Bradman and Matthew Hayden.

"It was obviously disappointing the loss in Kandy, my first loss as captain," said Smith.

"It was a different experience and hopefully it doesn't happen too often. We know what we have to do to turn it around."

For Sri Lanka, fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep is in doubt with a hamstring strain, which could mean they're forced to name a debutant - either Vishwa Fernando or Asitha Fernando - in their XI.


* In 2011, Nathan Lyon takes wicket with first ball in Test cricket, dismissing Kumar Sangakkara caught by Michael Clarke at slip. Lyon ends up with 5-34 and with Mike Hussey making 95 and Ryan Harris snaring 5-62 in second innings, Australia win by 125 runs despite Mahela Jayawardene's 105.

* In 2004, Australia produce a massive turnaround to score a famous victory by 197 runs. Trailing by 161 runs on first innings, Australia make 8(dec)-512 in second innings thanks to centuries from Mathew Hayden (130), Damien Martyn (110) and Darren Lehmann (129). Shane Warne then opens the bowling and takes 5-43 - including his 500th Test wicket - in a brilliant day-five win. Muttiah Muralitharan bags match figures of 11-212.

* In 1999, Steve Waugh defies medical advice to lead with four broken bones in his nose after a collision in first Test in Kandy with Jason Gillespie (broken leg). Rangana Herath makes Test debut and takes 4-97. Muralitharan chips in with 5-71 and Michael Slater top-scores with 96 but rain ruins last three days in draw.

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