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Warne-Muralitharan Trophy 2019: Preview

ANALYST
Feature
545   //    Timeless

Australia won the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy in the 2012-13 series at home
Australia won the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy in the 2012-13 series at home

Touring Australia has always been a challenging experience for most teams, especially Asian ones. But the decline in Australian batting standards coupled with the absence of their two reliable batsmen, David Warner, and Steve Smith, has made them more vulnerable than ever before to visiting sides.

This vulnerability was turned into a defeat for the home side by the Indians in the 4-match Test series that ended earlier this month. But even this weakened Australian side may be too much at home for a Sri Lankan team that has been suffering setbacks after setbacks, home and away, for the last couple of years.

The home side have to regain some pride after their disastrous show against India and they have a great opportunity against the emerald islanders. The visitors have always struggled in Australia and suffered a whitewash even on their last tour to the country in 2012-13.

Australia clearly start as favourites. But if they fail to beat Sri Lanka at home it would plunge their cricket into a deeper crisis then anything they have faced before. The tourists, on the other hand, have nothing to lose really after suffering a home whitewash against England. But a spirited show, even one drawn match, would be a big boost for the sagging spirits for their fans.

Let’s preview this series and examine the main points that will draw our attention in this contest.

Road to Ashes

This series would set the tone for Australia's journey towards the Ashes series later this year
This series would set the tone for Australia's journey towards the Ashes series later this year

Now that the Border-Gavaskar Trophy contest is over and the record of never having lost a series to an Asian side at home taken away, there is only thing that is occupying the minds of Australian cricketing fraternity as far as Test cricket is concerned – The Ashes.

Set to be held later this year in England, it would be a tough challenge for Australia to retain the urn. While Smith and Warner would be back to provide much-needed strength to the batting line-up, there are many spots yet to be filled and players to be found for the Ashes.

This series would be a trial for many players to prove themselves worthy of retaining their places for the big contest against England. Selectors will look to identify the contours of the team that would travel to England.

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