After an unexpected 3-0 series defeat on the previous tour of Sri Lanka six years ago, Australia expects to bat much better on spin-friendly pitches in the two-Test series in Galle starting with the first game on Wednesday. (More Cricket News)
The Sri Lanka vs Australia first Test starts at 10 AM IST/local. Sony Sports Network has the broadcast rights for the Sri Lanka vs Australia first Test. Sony Six channels will live telecast SL vs AUS first Test match while the live streaming will be available on the Sony LIV app on all android and Apple devices.
In Sri Lanka, viewers can also watch the SL vs AUS first Test live on Dialog TV, IPTV – SLT and Channel Eye. Sri Lanka Cricket YouTube channel will also live stream the first Test match.
Australia have found playing on Asia's turning pitches hard in the past but did well recently, beating Pakistan 1-0 in a three-match series in March. Of more significance, Sri Lanka's spin attack doesn't have the experience and variety of the retired Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera, who’s combined 43 wickets caused Australia's downfall in the 2016 series.
Sri Lanka can field left-arm spinners Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis. Also, in the squad is leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay, uncapped in Tests. The first three have played only 27 Tests combined, but Sri Lanka will be encouraged by how well the spinners performed in the ODIs they won 3-2.
Sri Lanka's seam bowlers have been better than the spinners: Asitha Fernando and Kasun Rajitha carried the team to victory in the recent two-Test series in Bangladesh. Australia have their own strong spin attack, led by off-spinner Nathon Lyon, who has 427 wickets in 108 matches.
Australia captain Pat Cummins said Lyon will like to be partnered by leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, who had two wickets across the two Pakistan Tests.
The series for the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy is the first since Australia great Shane Warne died in March. Galle has a special connection to Warne, who took his 500th Test wicket in the stadium and helped rebuild it after it was destroyed by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Victory would be a welcome distraction for people suffering in Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis in recent memory, with acute shortages of fuel, cooking gas, medicines and many other essentials. Right outside Galle Stadium are long lines of cylinders left by people waiting for a station to be resupplied with cooking gas.
There are few vehicles moving in and out of the usually bustling 17th-century Dutch-built Galle Fort next to the cricket ground because the government has issued fuel to vehicles involved only in essential services.
Sri Lanka have only four wins in 31 Tests against Australia, who has won 19. It will be some feat if Sri Lanka manage to win the series against the visitors.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Jeffrey Vandersay
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith (vc), Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell.