Now the popcorn cricket is over, let’s get serious – This is Test match cricket!
There is little hope for a result in this installment of Test match cricket, in particular for the Australian team. Expect a dust bowl, the draw is looking juicy at 2.16 on Betfair right now. They are expecting thunderstorms on at least 2 days of the Test match, you can see a detailed forecast at BBC Weather.
The introduction of seamer Trent Copeland is an absolute ball-tearer. I expect him to pick up a few wickets, or go for not many at all. Australia have 10 medium-fast options, which go for plenty. He is a diamond in the rough, in the mould of Glenn McGrath; tall, slim and tidy.
Not a huge fan of Nathan Lyon, just another experiment in my opinion; will likely be spanked by the more experienced Sri Lankan players of spin.
Usman Khawaja needs to be cemented at Number 6, if only he could work on his bowling (with that Pakistani heritage) the fit could not be more perfect.
All of other spin hacks can consider themselves blessed to be on a tour at all.
Shaun Marsh has had ample opportunities to prove himself, he is not cut out for Test match cricket; enough pretending.
The Australian Team really need to knuckle down and concentrate during this entire series. As we can expect a mostly flat, dusty track at each venue; spinners will most likely be bowled for extended spells by both sides. Can the Aussies keep achieving the 1% shots required to achieve a series victory? I am not convinced the team is mature enough just yet, but time will tell.
Key players for the Australians will be; Hughes, I’m not his biggest fan but Sri Lanka’s biggest weakness will be their opening bowling combination. If Hughes can take advantage of these opening overs and get Australia to something in order of 0/100 off 20 overs before the spinners come on, he will have done his job. Ponting and Clarke, not only are they the most experience of the Australian team, but arguably the best players of spin bowling once set. Ponting needs a big innings to solidify his recent form in the Test arena, Clarke needs to lead from the front.
Usman Khawaja is the least experienced of the Australian team, but for some reason I feel he is one of the more level headed and capable of grinding out an innings in Test match cricket. He is young, confident and full of flair, I agree; but I feel like he is the kind of guy who could kick back on a Sunday, reading the paper while taking a dump ie. graft out an innings. At number 6, his position will be crucial against the Sri Lankan spinners, in lieu of a customary Australian Test match cricket batting collapse. If you haven’t seen much of him here are a few highlights of what he is capable of (I know its ODI but the kid has skills).
All of Australian bowlers are crucial as they will struggle to take 20 wickets in any game of Test match cricket, particularly on these surfaces. Dare I say it, I don’t see any of them picking up a ‘bag’ per se. Everyone must contribute, least of all Mitchell Johnson who may be able to extract something from a dry surface with his cutters.
Australia XI for Galle: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Phil Hughes, 3 Ricky Ponting, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Usman Khawaja, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Trent Copeland, 10 Ryan Harris, 11 Nathan Lyon. (12th man – Michael Beer)
I wish I had time to write more because they are a fantastic team to watch and follow, but alas, I have a meeting to attend in an hour.
All hope relies on the big three in batting, Dilshan, Sangakarra and Jayawardene. They will need Mendis to pick up at least a couple of 5 fors to win the series.
As noted, I am liking the draw at 2.16 on Betfair as you would expect a cautious start to the series on a dead track, with some storms on the horizon.
High Bat – Ricky Ponting (Australia)
High Bat – Jayawardene (Sri Lanka)
Peace in Cricket and Godspeed.
Ah, the serenity of Test Match cricket.
* Odds through Betfair just prior to the start of play on August 31, 2011.