Srilanka vs Australia 2016: Test 1 preview, prediction and live stream info
In a bid to make a turnaround, especially in subcontinental conditions, Australia will have a point to prove as they gear up to meet the subcontinental giants, Sri Lanka, in the 1st Test of the 3 match Test series at Pallekele on Tuesday.
Since the retirement of stalwarts Sangakarra and Jayawardene, the team have floundered and found it difficult to compete with quality teams and, will be looking to make a turn-around in the series. They will be weary of the fact that the Australian think tank consists of a certain Muttiah Muralitharan, who had tormented star-studded batting line-ups during his heyday and knows the conditions in Sri Lanka to the T.
The exclusion of Milinda Siriwardana who captained the Sri Lankan XI in the tour match came as a surprise as the side is a relatively inexperienced lot. They will be heavily reliant on the services of Rangana Herath as most of their fast bowlers are recuperating from injuries. Apart from Mathews and Chandimal, the batting lineup lacks experience and relies on these two batsmen.
Australia, on the other hand, had suffered humiliating series defeats against India and Pakistan in their recent sub-continental tours. That perhaps best explains their move to hire Muralitharan. The Australian captain Steven Smith expressed his gratitude by saying, “It's great to have someone like that helping our spinners in this series, to give us that insight, he's been really good around the group so far, and he's enjoying his time with us.”
Nathan Lyon has been their main spinner and with Steve O’Keefe picking up 10 wickets in the tour match, we could see both of them featuring in the playing XI. Australia would be delighted to welcome Mitchell Starc back in the team, the tall left-handed speedster has recovered in time from a prolonged injury and will be raring to unleash his lethal in-swingers.
Australia is currently the No.1 side in the latest ICC Test rankings but a series sweep by the Indians on their West Indies tour will help the Indians reclaim the No.1 spot in Tests.
Angelo Mathews, the captain of Sri Lanka sounded optimistic about the team’s chances in the upcoming series. “Although (we are) playing against the Aussies at home, we all know that they are a tough side,” he said. “While playing against the Aussies, we should be brave and play positively, and if we do that we can beat them.” The 2nd Test will be held at Galle from 4th August and the 3rd Test in Colombo from 13th August.
Srilanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal.
Australia: Steve Smith (capt), Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Steve O'Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, David Warner.
Where to watch live: The match starts at 10 am (IST). Live TV coverage will be available on DD Sports and Star Sports and for live streaming click on Australia v Sri Lanka
Australia Probable XI - David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Mitchell Starc, Stephen O’Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.
Sri Lanka Probable XI - Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Roshen Silva, Kusal Perera, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dilruwan Perera
Match prediction: Australia to win
Sri Lanka will be playing in their own backyard, so they will have a slight edge, but their previous performances against the Australians in Sri Lanka have been unimpressive. The Lankans have won just a single match out of 13. Apart from that, their recent returns in Test cricket haven't been great either. Since Sangakkara and Jayawardene's retirement, the Lankans have found it very difficult to find their replacements.
Australia will be high on confidence after crushing Sri Lankan XI in the tour game. Steve O’Keefe will be eyeing a comeback after showing good promise in the practise match leading up to the series. The return of Mitchell Starc will strengthen the team and they look set to win the match hands down.
History (head to head in Tests): Played: 26, Australia: 17, Sri Lanka: 1, Draw: 8
In Sri Lanka - Played: 13, Australia: 6, Draw: 6