Thursday, December 13, 2012

Preview, 1st Test, Australia versus Sri Lanka, Hobart

I must have been drinking, but as I look forward to the 1st Australia versus Sri Lanka Test the lyrics from John Lennon's Instant Karma keeps playing over in my head. A Test series that has been brushed off as a romp for the Aussies with constant questions about how the Sri Lankans will get 20 wickets or bat on pitches that are expected to be bowling friendly.

Cynically, now that the South Africans with their brutal pace reserves have left Australians shores to be replaced by the innocuous pace offerings of the Sri Lankans you know the pitches will come alive.

Here is where that song comes into the preview of this match with it setting a stage for the Sri Lankan bowling to gain threat while at the same time exposing a weak Australian batting line up that in recent times has been all too easy to expose. Mainly because of a weak top 3 that flitters between terrible to adequate with not many grades above that and an unhealthy reliance on Michael Clarke to rescue the Team from the predictable top order carnage.

The Teams

Australia

Australia welcomes back Phil Hughes, who we have all been told that he is over his gaping technical flaws with him to bat at three. The boy has talent, and deserves another chance, but I think a few are looking through Rose colour glasses thinking he is over his technical weaknesses

Mitchell Johnson will carry the drinks leaving the 11 as follows

Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Hussey, Wade, Starc,Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Lyon

Sri Lanka

The main interest for I in the Sri Lankan 11 named is the absence of Dinesh Chandimal's name. A player who came into the side against South Africa last year when they were coming off a slaughter. To have all in awe of his ability and application. The dropping of Tharanga Paranavitana gave the Team the perfect chance to insert Chandimal, who showed a capacity to succeed in the openers role against Pakistan recently. Only to have newcomer Dimuth Karunaratne preferred...

Politics any one' influencing Chandimal's selection?
Leaving the 11 as follows

1,Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Shaminda Eranga, 11 Chanaka Welegedara.

Who Will Win?


It is funny how one sided the coverage of this series has been with most people giving Sri Lanka no hope of adapting to the conditions. Which indeed will be a key point, but then it overlooks how Australia, and in particular their batting will adapt to the conditions.

Especially when you keep in mind that the South Africa series saw two Tests played on batting paradises, and the third where the Aussies were slaughtered contested on a batting friendly deck with a bit in it for bowlers who bent their backs.

A green pitch in Hobart does not inspire faith in either Teams batting.............

Ultimately the batting line up performs best might be out of default due to the weaknesses in the Teams bowling line ups coming to the fore

Both Teams lack strike weapons with Australia being deprived of theirs in Pat Cummins, Ryan Harris and James Pattinson because of injury, and Sri Lanka's masterful spinner Rangana Herath likely to be neutralised by the conditions. Making him be more a defensive holding bowler rather than the hot knife through butter type that he has been in 2012.

Whose teams bowling bowls best as a unit will hold the key in the match with this likely to be Australia. Who might lack that A Grade game changing entity in their bowling, but still have bowlers that are big hearted and reliable for the most with only an occasional lapse. On the flip side, Sri Lanka's bowling looks very threadbare.

In the words of noted Drama Queen Rodney Hogg

''Sri Lanka have the worst new ball attack that has landed on our shores ever"

Which is debatable, but you could respond to this by bringing up this point

Is Australia's current top 3 the worst the Nation has had since the dim dark days of the mid 1980's?

I would answer yes..........

Meaning that it is ok to take pot-shots at Sri Lanka's weaknesses, but be smart enough to realise that the weaknesses apparent in the Aussie line up means a huge upset could happen.........

Prediction

Call me crazy, but I just have a feeling Australia might be taking this game easy.

Meaning Sri Lanka might steal a remarkable win

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