Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 December 11, 2012

Green pitch would 'elevate' SL bowlers - Sangakkara

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Having graced Sri Lanka's last Test match visit to Hobart with an unforgettable century on a pitch that retained its good humour throughout, Kumar Sangakkara is hopeful of an altogether different surface when the tourists meet Australia in the first Test at Bellerive Oval on Friday.

Sangakkara's fourth innings rearguard in 2007, against an Australian bowling attack then featuring Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Stuart MacGill alongside Mitchell Johnson, took place on a surface far less capricious than the strip that has furrowed plenty of brows since being relaid before this summer.

After the fashion of last season when New Zealand regrouped after a hiding in Brisbane to capitalise on a green seamer with a dramatic victory, Sangakkara reasoned that another "sporting" wicket in Tasmania would be of similar benefit to Sri Lanka. Any lateral movement may be exploited quite handily by the thrifty Nuwan Kulasekara, the slippery Shaminda Eranga and the left-armer Chanaka Welegedara.

"We've seen some of the games that [Australia] has played. There's been a bit of nibble about but it's been sporting to both sides," Sangakkara said. "Wickets like this make fast bowlers really enthusiastic to play, and it elevates guys who don't have that much pace. If it stays the same, I think our fast bowlers will have a really good chance against the Aussie batsmen."

While Sangakkara's hopes may yet be fulfilled, the surface appears to have settled somewhat in recent weeks. It also appeared to be quite friendly to Australia's players when they inspected it on Tuesday afternoon, and trained local eyes reckon it is flat enough to reap plenty of runs once the extra bite offered by the new ball has been negotiated. The other variable is the weather forecast, with rain and cloud slated to arrive in time for day one.

Sri Lanka's batsmen have some considerable adjusting to do over the next two days, as the wicket they were presented with at Canberra's Manuka Oval was amenable to centre wicket net practice but almost devoid of the kind of life commonly associated with Australian pitches. Sangakkara admitted the tourists would have liked something a little more lively for their only warm-up fixture: "We probably would have preferred a more sporting wicket for the practice game but that's the way it goes."

One young batsman seeking to make an impression will be the opener Dimuth Karunaratne, who blazed a rapid, unbeaten 60 on his debut against New Zealand in Galle, rebounding from a first innings duck in the process. Karunaratne was subsequently dropped for the second Test when Tillakaratne Dilshan returned from injury, but Sangakkara said the tour selectors would consider the 24-year-old's merits against those of Tharanga Paranavitana, who has been only moderately successful in his 32 Tests to date.

"There' a spot up for grabs to open along with Dilshan, and Dimuth would be looking forward to trying to grab that particular spot," Sangakkara said. "It's between him and Paranavitana I think. Paranavitana has played 30-odd Tests, Dimuth is pretty fresh and has played just one Test match but he's shown a lot of intent and good things. I think it will be a tough battle."

"I thought Dimuth batted really well in the second innings. We had to get 93 to win in Galle and he knocked it off almost at a run a ball, so that was fantastic to watch. It shows that he has confidence and the ability to bounce back from disappointment."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mitcher on December 14, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa: as a saffa I guess you'd know about letting lankans win tests on your soil. Embarrassing, right?

  • lukecannon on December 13, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    Nice try sangakkara. :)

  • OzWally on December 12, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    So what do you expect him to say? "The boys are really worried about this track, you wouldn't believe the line to the bogs".

  • on December 12, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    @ charika world no 1 batter is shiv chanderpaul so i dont think he will play for Aus lol......

  • Lord.emsworth on December 12, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    Hmmm green wickets..Not always a batting paradise for Sri Lankans and no demon bowlers to exploit it. I would say beware what you ask for and hope instead in the words of the Dalai Lama that 'Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck'

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 12, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    Dont get too excited Sri Lanka. Australia dished up lots of Roads in the South African tour to nullify the excellent SA bowling attack. When they finally had a pitch which offered some assistance(not much) OZ were bundled out for 160 odd. Im backing Sri Lankan Lions on this tour to cause an upset. Oz batting and bowling line ups are unsettled at the moment, now is the time to strike.

  • warneneverchuck on December 12, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Wish SL good luck and hope u guys perform ther better than what we did in last tour

  • Akheel on December 12, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    c'mon lions.. lets make history..!!

  • satish619chandar on December 12, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Australian tracks are a bit different. England, yes/ A 130-135 bowler can swing it in England and overtake their bowlers. But not in Australia. You need to be a 5-10k quicker than what you are actually.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 12, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    Its funny. Australians don't want Mitchell Johnson to play, but Mitchell Johnson is a great bowler. They forget the good times he had and only remember the bad times. Every bowler (just like a batsman) has his good and bad moments and Johnson playing will be a huge factor for Sri Lanka. If Johnson, Siddle, and Pattinson were bowling, I would put money that Johnson would get the most wickets

  • Mitcher on December 14, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa: as a saffa I guess you'd know about letting lankans win tests on your soil. Embarrassing, right?

  • lukecannon on December 13, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    Nice try sangakkara. :)

  • OzWally on December 12, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    So what do you expect him to say? "The boys are really worried about this track, you wouldn't believe the line to the bogs".

  • on December 12, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    @ charika world no 1 batter is shiv chanderpaul so i dont think he will play for Aus lol......

  • Lord.emsworth on December 12, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    Hmmm green wickets..Not always a batting paradise for Sri Lankans and no demon bowlers to exploit it. I would say beware what you ask for and hope instead in the words of the Dalai Lama that 'Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck'

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 12, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    Dont get too excited Sri Lanka. Australia dished up lots of Roads in the South African tour to nullify the excellent SA bowling attack. When they finally had a pitch which offered some assistance(not much) OZ were bundled out for 160 odd. Im backing Sri Lankan Lions on this tour to cause an upset. Oz batting and bowling line ups are unsettled at the moment, now is the time to strike.

  • warneneverchuck on December 12, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    Wish SL good luck and hope u guys perform ther better than what we did in last tour

  • Akheel on December 12, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    c'mon lions.. lets make history..!!

  • satish619chandar on December 12, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Australian tracks are a bit different. England, yes/ A 130-135 bowler can swing it in England and overtake their bowlers. But not in Australia. You need to be a 5-10k quicker than what you are actually.

  • johnathonjosephs on December 12, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    Its funny. Australians don't want Mitchell Johnson to play, but Mitchell Johnson is a great bowler. They forget the good times he had and only remember the bad times. Every bowler (just like a batsman) has his good and bad moments and Johnson playing will be a huge factor for Sri Lanka. If Johnson, Siddle, and Pattinson were bowling, I would put money that Johnson would get the most wickets

  • subbass on December 12, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    Love to say Lanka have a chance but imho they don't. Which trust me, is a great shame. Still, I suppose Clarke's form will end some time, but Lanka must be in poor Test form if Sanga is acting chuffed about green wickets.

  • gnanzcupid on December 12, 2012, 3:45 GMT

    this is the ultimate comedy.SL batsmen could not even stand on a flat track and face the mighty australian attack.Given a green top pitch,lankans will fold in a haste.Remember,the lankans are coming back from a "great" series against kiwis

  • Narbavi on December 12, 2012, 3:43 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs: Dhoni didn't ask for spinning wickets in overseas matches, he asked them for home games and mind you green tracks can help kulasekera very much, he can trouble this line up, bracewell troubled this line up with swing last year!!

  • on December 12, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    my lion side 1.dimuth 2.dishan 3.sanga 4.mahela 5.samara 6.mathew 7.prasana 8.nuwan 9.eranga 10.welagethara 11.herath donget parana n prasad

  • lukecannon on December 12, 2012, 2:47 GMT

    Sri lanka will be one down in the 1st over if not the first ball. Paranavitana is a walking wicket. If this happens wickets will tumble and AUS will roll up SL for 150 or less.

  • sohaibahmad on December 12, 2012, 1:03 GMT

    i c the test ending within 3 days, SL no match for any top class team

  • on December 12, 2012, 0:25 GMT

    Who is Sangakkara trying to convince? I suspect his comments are aimed at his own team who are mentally fragile and are shaking at the prospect of facing the Australian pace attack on a green seamer.

  • Meety on December 12, 2012, 0:24 GMT

    @KingOwl on (December 11 2012, 13:47 PM GMT) - I think that scheduling is the problem mate. Sri Lanka have only just finished a full series against NZ, so they really haven't got much time to work with. Prior to Oz's dominance where the side was pretty good in all conditions & more or less lobbed up with one or two trial matches, teams use to play 4 or 5 tour matches to aclimatise. I agree that it is a tough ask for SL on the schedule they have had, but that is 50/50 fault with both Boards. In relation to Canberra v Hobart, the climates are pretty different, so it isn't easy to match the pitches, let alone get the soil contents of pitches the same! @yorkslanka on (December 11 2012, 15:00 PM GMT) - I think Sanga was speaking truthfully & there was no spin in what he said. A Green Monster like last year, (IMO), gives Sri Lanka a better chance of winning IF they bowl well. I would say that SL easily have the more experienced batting line up, so they could do very well in seam conditions!

  • nilb on December 12, 2012, 0:09 GMT

    @johnathonjosephs Is Sanga asking for green pitch? really? Why would he ask for a green wicket is the SL seamers are not as good as the Aussies? And is he asking that from the home groundsmen? Please don't compare what happened to Dhoni to here..

  • Marcio on December 11, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    It is true that the Hobart pitch is god for SL, as it gives them a shot at bowling out AUS for lowish scores, and then all it takes is for one or two SL bats to get going, and they could get a win. Green pitches also make medium pacers much more threatening. On a good batting surface AUS would probably rack up huge scores and put the game out of reach. We saw the same with the NZ medium pacers last time. Down there Bracewell looked like Jesus Christ with a ball in his hand. On flatter piches he doesn't have the pace to do too much damage, a bit like Philander. The downside of Hobart is that if AUS bowl well, SL could get very low scores indeed.

  • heathrf1974 on December 11, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    I agree. Some people think if the pitch is lifeless then it makes the teams closer. It's actually the opposite. The more difficult a pitch is for batsmen, the closer the result will be.

  • Ranveerrsingh on December 11, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    This is exactly what the Englishmen would also do, make the visiting side play all the practice games on pitches which are flat and devoid of any grass and then make them play the test matches on green tops.....This leaves the visiting teams thoroughly underprepared!! This is nothing but cheating.....Don't know how the Aussies and the Englishmen get away with something like this which has been going on for many years. The impotent ICC should look into these sort of issues if they want to command any respect among all the cricketing nations!!

  • Yoker111 on December 11, 2012, 22:49 GMT

    @ Yorkslanka : This is in response to the previous post on where i opted for Thisara Perera to open. Reason is because we don't need a "cook" in the SL team we need another "Jayasuriya" if Dilshan is too old to spark a few boundraies and get the team on a brisk start which we require then we need someone young who will also learn and mature not to go after each ball but also be dangerous. Like Kevin Peiterson once said in reference to Gayle been in the indies test team "we need entertainers in test cricket" It will also help the lad mature enough to be a future star who everyone can depend on, i say batting low down the order is a waste of brutal strength and talent, a good coach and captain will try him at the opening slot atleast for ODI's and then test.

  • srriaj317 on December 11, 2012, 22:11 GMT

    @KingOwl: Though the flat wicket at Mauka might seem unfair at first sight for foreign observers, it is only an unfortunate coincidence in reality. People like us in the capital of Australia (Canberra) are so deprived of live quality cricket which means the annual Chairman's XI is a celebration for us. So there is no option for CA but to schedule warm-up games (especially for the sub-continental countries) in Canberra. It is just unfortunate however that Manuka Oval has historically always been flat despite efforts by curators. I'm sure the well-learned Sangakkara knows this and that's why he's fine with it.

  • Test-is-the-best on December 11, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    Its not the best bowling department by Sri Lanka touring Australia this time. Even world class bowlers like Murali and Vass has got poor records in Australia . ( Vaas 17 wkts avg 41.7 per wkt, Murali 7 wkts avg 106.85 per wkt, Malinga 12 wkts, 40.08 Per wkt, Dilhara 3 wkts 104.66 per wkt) .

    Even though Austrlian team is not an unbeatable side as it was in 1999-2007 its very difficult to defeat Australian team in Australia. On the otherhand they finished high in the first two tests against SA even they could not earn a victory. Clarke & Hussy are in good form to pile up a big score against any bowling attack.

    The responsibility is over Sangakkara & co make a defendable score without burdning the bowling department.

  • hannibal_king on December 11, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    Is dinesh chandimal injured?, He played a few bad innings in his last few innings but other than that hes been pretty good.

  • Chris_P on December 11, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    True enough, the SL bowlers would bowl on a much more responsive wicket than they have been used to.,As NZ showed in their last test victory over SL, their pace bowlers are quickly developing into a very, very good seam bowling unit capable of exploiting any pitch helping them, such as they showed last year in Hobart. We'll wait & see if the SL bowlers are up to that task after this week.

  • Indy_IC on December 11, 2012, 20:24 GMT

    So typical of Cricket Australia, when South Africans were here, they prepared batting pitches, fearing that they will be facing the best bowling attack in the world, now that they have gone, it's all going to be bouncy wicket I bet, especially if the visiting team is from sub continent.

  • bumsonseats on December 11, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    well SL. maybe the aussies remember the pitch you prepared for them in the last series in SL. so tit for tat maybe. but the last time a wicket like that was prepared did not NZ win?

  • on December 11, 2012, 19:18 GMT

    Australia will do 3 - 0. Go go australia

  • sl_blood on December 11, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    pranavitana has 30 tests and hez still struggling . Even in test matches u should look to score runs and he defends ball after ball .just piles the pressure on the entire team .he stay for 20 overs makes 20 runs and gets out which helps no one .high time dimuth was given an opportunity . and mahela , sanga , thilan and dilshan need to bat big .enough excuses ..the newzealand second test was a shame to watch .

  • on December 11, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    This is good from sanga.They have set themselves pretty bravely before the match starts.This is the series which their batsmen need to click.put a big score on the board and the give their bowlers a chance.That's what they did for the victory against SA in early 2011.But "elevate from a green top" doesn't mean that only satisfaction to medium pacers but their batsmen too have to work hard against quality AUS new bowlers .But i still believe the AUS pitches what we seen in last NZ,IND and SA series are not that bad.Yes they've got some pace and bounce but not much swing or lateral movements though.I think bounce wouldn't trouble SL unless it's swing.If hobart pitch get some green, the toss will be a key,especially for SL.

  • on December 11, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    Sl test side is a joke, apart from sanga,mahela,herath, rest of the team dont even really understand the value of test cricket, ICC should ban test cricket in sub continent

  • on December 11, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    it will be dilshan,dimuth,sanga, mahela,thilan,mathews,prassanna,kule,rangana,welagedara,and eranga for the 1st test. looks a good team. if guys play to their potential very much capable of giving good fight to their own backyard. comeon lions........ make our drem come true...

  • Independencechoice1 on December 11, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    Try to nurture and develop Kanishka Alvitigala.A tall,paceman with a good high arm action who can hit the deck hard;something we miss with current pace attack.If developed properly he will add more fighting ability to our pace attack in Test matches in Aus,SA,Eng,NZ.Test matches in these pace friendly wickets needs more and more strike bowlers to succeed.Holding bowlers like kula and Welagedara are good in subcontinent but in these conditions better have strike bowlers who can exploit the conditions. Also SL better use a strike bowler for kula in subcontinent tests if any of the current crop of paceman can develop a step further.To win matches you need to attack,attack and attack which is the thing poms are doing now.

  • on December 11, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    The form of Sanga himself is critical. He has been getting out to adventurous and injudicious strokes recently, probably a result of all the T20s. So it remains to be seen how far he could control those tendencies.

  • on December 11, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    Except that it wont be a green wicket. You dont get those anymore. It will be fast and bouncy. Greentops havent been seen since the 70's. Unlike the dustbowls seen in India and SL.

  • on December 11, 2012, 16:16 GMT

    get Thisara in even in test , dont forget how he perform in green tracks

  • johnathonjosephs on December 11, 2012, 16:09 GMT

    Wow. Dhoni asking for spinning wickets to help side win while Sangakkara asking for green wickets that will not help his side. Dhoni's tactics did not work, but does that mean Sanga's will?

  • RandyOZ on December 11, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    Surely this is a joke? Thier trundlers couldn't swing it is there was a hurricane going across the centre of the pitch!

  • Sageleaf on December 11, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    Sanga It time to deliver. Just look how bold Amaranath was, who wanted Dhoni sacked. SL team needs to play together. Their fielding during the Kiwi tour was so pathetic and Mahela was giving excuses. The top four failed miserably. Aussie tour will challenge everyone in the team. I wonder why Paranawithana and Prasad are in the side. Tissara and would have taken Lahiru or Angelo Perera. I see Chandimal is struggling and someone has changed the way he's playing. Just let him play his normal game. Will SL fast bowlers have an effect in Aussie pitches? I doubt very much. If every player stay together and give 100% SL might even give Aussies a good run just like they did in South Africa. There is no place for excuses and complacency. I see SL bowlers struggling during the tour but batting will keep them alive if they give their heart out.

  • yorkslanka on December 11, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    that's all good and well Sanga but dont forget that our batsmen have to negotiate those swinging and seaming balls too and there is fair difference in pace of the Aussie quicks t o our guys...nice try on the mind games tho..;-)

  • on December 11, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Aussie will rox with world number 1 batsman....PUP you are the best batsman and best captain....

  • swauzzie on December 11, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    He speaks about pitches being "sporting to both sides". & "We probably would have preferred a more sporting wicket for the practice game but that's the way it goes." At least it wasn't a dutbowl claypit like the Aussies get served up with when come to visit. Highly inhospitable playing conditions to say the least. I know that the "home side advantage" needs to be taken inte consideration, but seriously i'm just gonna say one word "Galle" another choice word - sportsmanship. These two words are oxymorons!

  • on December 11, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    i think dimuth must give the chance he scored 150 in SA again good bowling attack

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    this is true in a way but its impossible to say what could happen. if its green and spicy and hilfenhaus gets selected he could have sri lanka out in about 20 minutes, or not, you never know what is instore. @Test-is-the-best -- you would think an opening partnership is crucial but this is why cricket is such a funny game and nobody really knows whats going on most of the time because last year in the second innings warner and hughes were cruising towards the small target at a very very quick rate but australia still somehow lost.

  • on December 11, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    And the mind games begins!!!

  • KingOwl on December 11, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    I think there should be an ICC law enabling visiting teams to get good practice wickets. I am not blaming the Aussies or accusing them of being cheats. This happens quite frequently all over the world, but more so in some places. Fans want to see some sort of a balance between two teams, not for the visiting team to be terribly under prepared. Let's also not forget that shifting from low to high bounce is far more difficult than the other way around. Surely, something could easily be done? Net benefit to cricket is obvious, as far as I can see.

  • on December 11, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    Real challenge for the lions,show your color,go lions

  • Test-is-the-best on December 11, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    In order to make a decent score a solid opening partnership is a must. Even Sangakkara could not capitalize in most instances when SL lost its first wicket cheaply. SL need a technically sound opener like Marvan ATTAPATTU who can make big inning in green pitches. I am not sure Dimuth will do it or not. However this Lad need a chance from the first test.

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  • Test-is-the-best on December 11, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    In order to make a decent score a solid opening partnership is a must. Even Sangakkara could not capitalize in most instances when SL lost its first wicket cheaply. SL need a technically sound opener like Marvan ATTAPATTU who can make big inning in green pitches. I am not sure Dimuth will do it or not. However this Lad need a chance from the first test.

  • on December 11, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    Real challenge for the lions,show your color,go lions

  • KingOwl on December 11, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    I think there should be an ICC law enabling visiting teams to get good practice wickets. I am not blaming the Aussies or accusing them of being cheats. This happens quite frequently all over the world, but more so in some places. Fans want to see some sort of a balance between two teams, not for the visiting team to be terribly under prepared. Let's also not forget that shifting from low to high bounce is far more difficult than the other way around. Surely, something could easily be done? Net benefit to cricket is obvious, as far as I can see.

  • on December 11, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    And the mind games begins!!!

  • jonesy2 on December 11, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    this is true in a way but its impossible to say what could happen. if its green and spicy and hilfenhaus gets selected he could have sri lanka out in about 20 minutes, or not, you never know what is instore. @Test-is-the-best -- you would think an opening partnership is crucial but this is why cricket is such a funny game and nobody really knows whats going on most of the time because last year in the second innings warner and hughes were cruising towards the small target at a very very quick rate but australia still somehow lost.

  • on December 11, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    i think dimuth must give the chance he scored 150 in SA again good bowling attack

  • swauzzie on December 11, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    He speaks about pitches being "sporting to both sides". & "We probably would have preferred a more sporting wicket for the practice game but that's the way it goes." At least it wasn't a dutbowl claypit like the Aussies get served up with when come to visit. Highly inhospitable playing conditions to say the least. I know that the "home side advantage" needs to be taken inte consideration, but seriously i'm just gonna say one word "Galle" another choice word - sportsmanship. These two words are oxymorons!

  • on December 11, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Aussie will rox with world number 1 batsman....PUP you are the best batsman and best captain....

  • yorkslanka on December 11, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    that's all good and well Sanga but dont forget that our batsmen have to negotiate those swinging and seaming balls too and there is fair difference in pace of the Aussie quicks t o our guys...nice try on the mind games tho..;-)

  • Sageleaf on December 11, 2012, 15:02 GMT

    Sanga It time to deliver. Just look how bold Amaranath was, who wanted Dhoni sacked. SL team needs to play together. Their fielding during the Kiwi tour was so pathetic and Mahela was giving excuses. The top four failed miserably. Aussie tour will challenge everyone in the team. I wonder why Paranawithana and Prasad are in the side. Tissara and would have taken Lahiru or Angelo Perera. I see Chandimal is struggling and someone has changed the way he's playing. Just let him play his normal game. Will SL fast bowlers have an effect in Aussie pitches? I doubt very much. If every player stay together and give 100% SL might even give Aussies a good run just like they did in South Africa. There is no place for excuses and complacency. I see SL bowlers struggling during the tour but batting will keep them alive if they give their heart out.