First thing first; this Test match cricket track looks to be an absolute belter!
After the pitch in Galle was reported to the ICC by the match referee, it is no suprise really.
If only I had done some homework the first time around, I may have saved myself the embarassment.
For Australia, Ponting has been replaced by Shaun Marsh. I am not loving this inclusion, let alone the fact he is set to bat at 3 above my boy Usman “Aussie Koala” Khawaja. Given that it’s a flat track there is some hope for Marsh – he likes to drive through the ball and a sticky wicket may have gotten him in tangles.
For Sri Lanka glad to see they picked Ajantha Mendis this time around. Given the pitch will not turn as much as Galle, Mendis will still trouble the Aussies with his finger-flicking variations. I expect him to factor in this Test match cricket match.
Obviously Ponting is a big loss for Australia – but it’s also an opportunity for Clarke to skipper the side on his own, hopefully a bag a runs will follow.
Expect a lot of carry and bounce in the first session. If the openers can survive until lunch batting will get easier throughout the day. The opening combinations are going to be crucial in this test, if either Watson and Dilshan score a big hundred (at a good rate per ball) a result is still possible. Apart from that, the draw once again is the most likely result with two strong batting lineups. Don’t expect Lyon to be as effective on this type of wicket, the kid needs time to mature and develop his repoitoire on flat tracks in Test match cricket conditions.
Lots of interest in a draw as the pitch should have little in the way of Galle’s demons.
Peace in cricket and Godspeed.