Sri Lanka vs Australia: 5 key player battles to watch out for
Historically over the years, the Australian team has always found the going tough in Asian conditions. However, they have fared reasonably well in Sri Lanka, where they have won as many as 6 of the 13 matches played.
Much along the same lines, the visitors will go into the first Test as clear favourites against a dilapidated Sri Lankan side which has been ravaged by injuries. This and the fact that Australia are ranked number 1 and Sri Lanka 7 is an indication of the huge gulf in the class of the two sides. And, Australia have a full-strength squad at their disposal, thus the hosts will have all the running to do.
However, Sri Lanka do have players who can pose a considerable threat to the visitors, and here in this list, we take a look at 5 key player battles which might decide the course of the match.
#1 Mitchell Starc vs Angelo Mathews
The Australians love to make statements before the start of any series, this is their part of the 'mind games', and more often than not they single out the opposition captain. Thus, when Mitchell Starc made it clear that he will go after Angelo Mathews, it was certainly not a shout in the dark.
"He's been fantastic as a captain and led from the front as well, so no doubt we'll put a lot of pressure on Angelo to perform. He's got to lead as captain, so he'll be a big wicket for us", Starc said, who is fit and raring to go with the red ball in hand.
Clearly, Angelo Mathews has been the fulcrum around which the Sri Lankan has rotated for quite some time now and the skipper will know that it is up to him to soak all the pressure and perform for his team. Responding to Starc's statements, Mathews was blunt in his assessment as he said that there is bound to be pressure in International games.
"For life is all about pressure. It is nice for people to have expectations, but when you are the captain, I don't think much about expectations", Mathews said.
Clearly, a spicy contest is brewing!