Sports, Cricket

Aussies subcontinent journey looks to stay on track

Published : 28 Jun 2022 08:06 PM

Australia's tour to Sri Lanka has already had an impact following the special scenes in Colombo of locals dressed in yellow to thank the visitors for touring during a desperate time in their country's history.

Sri Lanka winning the ODI series provided moments of joy for the home supporters, but there is a sense among Australia that the real stuff starts now. There were no ODI Super League points up for grabs and the visitors had injuries galore, although they were thoroughly outplayed by the hosts.

But there are vital World Test Championship points at stake in the two Tests in Galle, as is Australia's Asian reputation. They currently sit top of the WTC table while Sri Lanka occupy fourth with just 12 months remaining before the final. A 2-0 series sweep, either way, would have significant ramifications.

Sri Lanka are a side on the rise having beaten Bangladesh away in their most recent series in May under new coach Chris Silverwood and their performance in the ODI series proves that the belief is building. But they were uncompetitive against India away in early March. They won three of the six home Tests in 2021 against West Indies and Bangladesh but lost 2-0 to England in back-to-back Tests at Galle.

Australia proved their subcontinent bona fides in Pakistan with a 1-0 series win. However, it was a different type of challenge with spin being almost a non-factor in all three Tests save for Nathan Lyon's five-wicket haul on the final day in Lahore. Australia haven't been tested in true spinning conditions since touring Bangladesh in 2017 and the last time they faced Sri Lanka on their own turf they were humbled 3-0.