Ian Chappell: Batting first is Sri Lanka's best hope

Selection worries for Sri Lanka, no such worries for Australia (03:36)

November 15, 2007


Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Hobart

Ian Chappell: Batting first is Sri Lanka's best hope

November 15, 2007

Sri Lanka have missed Kumar Sangakkara's class, says Ian Chappell © AFP

Ian Chappell: There are a few things the Sri Lankans have to do in the second Test. They'll be playing for pride and trying to level the series - they can't win it because it's a two-match series. The first thing that they have to do is get their team selection right. It looks like Kumar Sangakkara is fit to play, and that's a huge boost to the Sri Lankans because he's the class batsman, certainly against Australia. Mahela Jayawardene is yet to prove himself against the Australians. So they [Sri Lanka] need Sangakkara to be in [the team] and play well.

The second thing that they need to do is get [Lasith] Malinga back into the team. Reports suggest that Malinga is going to come in to the [playing] XI and the big surprise is that Chaminda Vaas could miss out. That surprises me a little, because usually there's some wind at Bellerive Oval and I would have thought that it might suit swing bowling and also, you need somebody [like Vaas] to bowl into the wind. But reports suggest that Vaas could indeed miss out. But if Sri Lanka get Malinga in [to the team], that's going to make a huge difference.

The next thing they have to do is to get accustomed to the cold weather. It's cool at this time of the year in Hobart. You get temperatures of around 16-17 [degrees Celsius] and if it's really warm, it gets up to 19. But it's not the weather the Sri Lankans are used to playing in and that's something they need to get used to.

The Australians will go in with an unchanged side. Reports on the pitch suggest that there's no grass on it and it looks like it will be a firm pitch. There may be a bit of moisture early on but there is absolutely no reason to win the toss and put the opposition in.

If Sri Lanka do win the toss, they need to bat and make a decent score. They should not think of giving Australia the first hit because if you let the Australians post a big first-innings total; they then grind the opposition, and make them fall by the wayside - that's usually the way they [Australia] love to play.

The Australians will be a confident lot. They have [Stuart] MacGill, who, with his legspin - if the pitch is flat - will get a lot of overs. There's a bit more variety in the Australian attack, although [the inclusion of] Malinga will help Sri Lanka in that regard.

The Sri Lankans have got a lot to do. They have to put on a better show than they did in Brisbane. They have said that they would like to get a longer Test series, but the only way they can do that is by playing with a lot of pride in Hobart and push the Australians. But if they can win the Test, then they can talk about playing a three-match series instead of a two-match series.

But at the moment, things are in Australia's favour. They come in [to the Test] with a lot of momentum and an unchanged side whereas Sri Lanka is the team with a lot to prove.

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