Sri Lanka brace for 'wounded' Australia
SYDNEY (AFP) –
Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said he expected Australia to attack his men like “wounded soldiers” after their hard-fought loss to South Africa and the retirement of Ricky Ponting.
Australia suffered a 309-run defeat in the third and deciding Test against South Africa which ended Monday, losing the series 1-0.
It allowed the Proteas to retain the number one world ranking and meant 17-year veteran Ponting was not given the send-off the team wanted.
Ahead of a three-day tour match against a Chairman’s XI in Canberra, Jayawardene said Sri Lanka, who are yet to win a Test in Australia, would not be complacent.
“I see them as wounded soldiers — they could come back stronger against us,” he told reporters, adding that even without Ponting Australia were still a “decent lineup”.
“Australia will come hard at us, especially after the (last South Africa) Test because of what happened to them. We need to brace for that and make sure we handle those tough situations.”
Sri Lanka begin their tour just days after being beaten by New Zealand in Colombo in the second of a two-Test series which ended 1-1.
Prolific batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who earlier this year won the International Cricket Council’s Cricketer of the Year award, disappointed against the Black Caps, scoring only 21 runs over three innings.
Jayawardene said the 35-year-old batsman-wicketkeeper would be out to prove something in Australia.
“I am happy that he went through a lean phase because he’ll be really hungry for runs — that’s Kumar for you,” he said.
Jayawardene, also 35, said he will consider his future as captain after the Australia tour which includes three Tests, five one day internationals and two Twenty20 matches.
“After this, we get a well-deserved four weeks off, after about three years, so it gives me a bit of time to think what I need to do,” he told reporters.
“We need to groom another leader as well. It’s very important to have that changeover done smoothly while the senior players are still in the side.
“That’s something that I will speak with the selectors (about) and see what’s best for them and then make a call.”
Sri Lanka and Australia begin their first Test in Hobart on December 14, the subsequent Tests beginning on December 26 in Melbourne and January 3 in Sydney.