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Australian Cricket: Sri Lanka v Australia 1st Test preview

After losing the One Day International series 3-2, Australia will be out to gain revenge on Sri Lanka in the two-match Test series, with the action getting underway in Galle on Wednesday.

The last time Australia played a Test series in Sri Lanka they lost 3-0 back in 2016 and they will be in for another stern examination during this latest two-match series.

In 2016 Rangana Herath was a huge thorn in the side of the Australians when taking 28 wickets throughout the series, and they will be thankful that he has since retired.

This Sri Lankan bowling attack has less experience but will still pose a serious threat nonetheless and the Aussie batsman will have to be switched on to get the job done.

They struggled against spin in the One Day International series and are sure to face another barrage during the Test matches.

A number of the Australian batsmen will also be playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka for the very first time and it will be interesting to see how they go.

Australia can however take heart from the recent success against Pakistan in similar conditions but Sri Lanka will also fancy their chances being on home soil.

It looks set to be a closely fought battle and Australia will be hoping to edge it and end the tour on a high.

What: Sri Lanka v Australia 1st Test Match
When: 14:30 (AEST) 28th June to 3rd July, 2022
Where: Galle International Stadium, Galle, Sri Lanka
Odds to win the series: Sri Lanka 11/4, Australia 11/10

Team news

Australia have had a tough time on the injury front ever since arriving in Sri Lanka when losing a number of key players, but they look set to put out a strong side for the opening Test.

There is some good news with former captain Steve Smith set to take his place in the side after recovering from the thigh injury he picked up during the ODI series.

It seems as though Smith is not 100percent but feels he is fit enough to get through a Test match.

The Aussies have also been boosted by the news fast bowler Mitchell Starc will be able to play.

Starc has not played since slicing open his finger in the opening T20 clash two weeks ago The fast bowler had been able to bowl at full pace in the nets, but the rules stipulate he could not play with tape on his fingers.

However he was able to bowl on Monday without tape and gets the nod for the opening Test.

There is also a concern over the fitness of Travis Head who has been struggling with a hamstring issue. Australia are hopeful he will play but Glenn Maxwell is waiting in the wings should he miss out.

Ashton Agar is ruled out with a side strain, but Australia have confirmed they will play with two spin bowlers. Nathan Lyon will of course be one and they now have to decide between Mitch Swepson and Jon Holland for the other spot.

Holland must overcome a finger injury though to have any chance of playing.

Players to watch

Lasith Embuldeniya (Sri Lanka). The 25-year-old spin bowler was handed the task of trying to fill the shoes of Herath and he will be key to Sri Lanka’s chances of defeating Australia. He has a decent record in Galle when taking a total of 32 wickets in the five matches he has played at the venue.

Dhananjaya de Silva (Sri Lanka). The top-order batsman will be a threat to the Australians. He has a very handy 37.88 Test average and scored a century against Australia back in 2016. He has also been in very good touch in the ODI series and will be looking to carry that form into the Tests.
The 30-year-old is also a very tidy when fielding in the slips.

Nathan Lyon (Australia). It goes without saying a lot of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Aussie spin bowler heading into the series. He will be full of confidence following his performances on the tour of Pakistan where he took 5-83 in the second innings of the final Test.
He will have support with Australia set to field two spin bowlers but he will need to be on the top of his game.

Steve Smith (Australia). The former skipper was Australia’s best batsmen back in 2016. Indeed he was the only one to average over 30 during the series. Of his 27 Test hundreds, four of them have come on sub-continent where he averages 50.08. He will relish the tough conditions and Australia will need him to step up over the two Tests.

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