Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13 December 2, 2012

'We are not quite ready for the Australians'


After the defeat in the P Sara Test to New Zealand Graham Ford, the Sri Lanka coach, has said his team had to improve on their batting against pace ahead of the three-Test series in Australia, which starts December 14 in Hobart.

Sri Lanka have only a three-day warm-up match against a Chairman's XI at Canberra to put right their shortcomings ahead of the Test series.

"I was hoping that we would have a very good Test series against New Zealand which would be a fantastic way of preparing for the Australia series particularly as they have a useful seam outfit," Ford said.

"If we could pass the test against this seam bowling we would know we were in quite a good position to take on Australia. Unfortunately we didn't really pass the test with flying colours although there were quite a few batsmen that showed some decent form.

"I was hoping for a lot better than that but there were signs that we were starting to find our feet against pace, but what we are really gaining out of it (we had a chat about it as well) was that we now realise that we are not quite ready for the Australians. Once we get there the work that we do is going to be very intense. We are going to have to practise outside our comfort zone so that we are ready for what they are going to throw at us."

Ford blamed the poor performances of the batsmen in the New Zealand series on playing too much one-day cricket. "We just slipped off our Test match process when it comes to batting," said Ford. "It is part of international cricket these days having to switch from one format to the other we just had such a lot of instant cricket that Test match batting has been a long way away from their minds. In a very short space of time they had to try and switch that on and they didn't switch it on as well as we had hoped to.

"Quite a number of our batsmen, although we got a few Test match specialists, have played a huge amount of T20 and ODI cricket in recent times and the Test match process hasn't really been in their minds," Ford said.

"Even though we talk about it, the nervous energy takes over and suddenly the body reverts back to the one-day processes. Also this last Test having had long hours on the field, the mind sometimes plays a few tricks and you are not quite as mentally tough as you should be for Test match cricket. Hopefully we were able to learn from all of that and really start to gear ourselves for much bigger scores."

One of the reasons for the batting problems against New Zealand was the injury to senior opener Tillakaratne Dilshan. Ford expected a fully fit Dilshan to provide strong starts on the Australia tour for Sri Lanka's experienced middle-order. "Dilshan had this injury and came back with not a lot of practice. I am hoping that he is going to be back at his best. He knows the Australian conditions well, he knows the players and has such a great temperament. What I see from Dilshan is, the bigger the moment, the better he plays."

Ford had similarly high expectations of Kumar Sangakkara, who in the series against New Zealand averaged below 10 in a Test series for only the second time in his career. "Sanga didn't get a start which doesn't happen too often. Each time he misses out he is closer to a really big score. He got out in a freakish way in the second innings coming off the thigh pad and when he is playing well Sri Lanka tends to get big scores. You can build an innings around him."

Ford said the hallmark of a good team was to bounce back after a poor performance, something he hoped Sri Lanka would be able to do. "The best of teams do have some bad outings and the boys in the dressing room were very open and honest in saying that they know they are capable of a much better performance than they put in in the second Test. That's important that they accept that they can be better and need to do better. They know they can do better which is a sign of confidence, if we can put that all in place once we get there."

Sri Lanka have yet to win a Test in Australia and the current tour affords them the opportunity to erase that record. Ford believes Sri Lanka's best chance of beating Australia lies at Sydney, venue of the third and final Test.

"The one thing that we have chatted a bit about it is winning a Test in Australia. It's an enormous challenge and it's an exciting challenge. The focus of all the cricketing fans in the world is going to be on those Test matches, so it's a huge opportunity. That will serve us as a lot of motivation as well.

"Traditionally Sydney is the one that the spinners have played a big part. With spin being one of our strengths that's an opportunity. But our seam bowlers have worked very hard recently and are really trying to get their skills going. If there is a little bit of sideways movement on the surface at Hobart our seam bowlers could really have an impact on the game. History tells you that Sydney is the ground that we most likely would get a win.

"Coming off a loss to New Zealand at home where the seam bowlers caused problems it makes it look as if we are quite a long way away. Cricket is a funny game and if the boys are really up for the fight and they are able to tighten up a little bit in terms of a few aspects we know we have to work on, who knows what can be achieved.

"Australia are playing really good cricket, very dominant at the moment they have put up good performances in their home conditions. I hope our boys really get their teeth into it and make some history."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on December 5, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    @Narbavi, yes of course NZ suffered from the worse umpiring in India and the whole world knows it. Also we were better and that was why we made it to the CB series finals. Also, Lankan pitches are result oriented and that was why test matches have a result unlike the dead flat Indian beds.

  • narbavi on December 5, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @Harmony111: What u said is absolutely true, just look at his comment now, he says india won because of 14 bad decisions, everyone knows it didn't happen, there might have been one or two decisions, but that happens, but this reasoning is ridiculous isn't it? We saw how they found life tough against Ojha and Ashwin!! Actually it was their team who beat pak recently in tests because of lots of wrong decisions, but he didn't mention it at all!!

  • narbavi on December 5, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    @Htc-Android: You are mentioning about how it behaved during the last test, i mentioned about the traditional lankan pitches over the years, get the difference??

  • narbavi on December 5, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    @Sinhaya: 14 umpiring errors against NZ? that's the funniest i have ever heard, the whole world knew how they struggled against our spin and succumbed and here you are saying they won because of 14 wrong decisions!!

  • narbavi on December 5, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    @lukecannon-ENG: Mate come on, How come lanka knocked us out? We beat them 2-1 in the CB series, it was actually Aus who knocked us out as we lost 1-3 to them!!

  • associate cricket fan on December 4, 2012, 16:52 GMT

    @Narbavi please read this article . It says "bouncier P Sara pitch will assist their seam bowlers in the same way it assisted England's in March, when they squared their two-match series with Sri Lanka, after also losing the first match in Galle" . if you have more questions read this article

  • Prashan on December 4, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @Kalpman, did you read my comment properly? I said exactly what Ross Taylor said. NZ have to be good enough if they beat Australia in a test match last year in Australia, which India could not do last year. By the way NZ lost in India in August 2-0 all because there was no DRS and they had 14 or more decisions going against them.

  • Vihanga on December 4, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @Narbavi- Didn't SL knock india out in the CB series? and they JUST GOT THERE. Your team was playng there for over a month before SL arrived. Yet they knocked you out in ALIEN conditions. I expect SL to lost all test matches (with the current negative mindset and SL government influence on selectors to include big failures like Paranavitana in the squad while match-winners like Perera are not even looked at) But you can't deny that they have a lot of fight in them and when they go down they do so fighting and with honour.I KNOW that they'l drag these matches as far as they can before losing them and who knows some sangakkara or mathews brilliance might steal a win. They beat SA - no 1 team in the world in SA when keppler wessels proclaimed that even SA A team would beat SL comfortably. Yet they surprised everybody. This is what's common in teams like SL,WI AND NZ and even BAN. You can never relax against them. They'l give you a nasty surprise. so I m keeping my fingers crossed. :))

  • Harmon on December 4, 2012, 15:10 GMT

    @Kalpman: If you are new around here then learn it today that a SL fan WILL NEVER APPRECIATE THE OTHER TEAM. A typical SL fan such as Sinhaya here will always have some ridiculous excuse up their sleeve to somehow dilute the other team's players. I have been seeing them for a long time now. They just never change. In fact, you will find that several Pak fans are very sober and true sportsmen and they do appreciate the other eam when it does well even if Pak team has lost the match. A very large no of Pak fans congratulated India for WC 2011, for Kohli's 183 and labelled him as the next big thing, they admired SRT'and Viru's 200s but the typical SL fan will somehow find some excuse to belittle all of these things. Dealing with such mind-shut fans is futile. Their team has been the most mediocre of all the test playing teams except BD and Zim (and even BD will beat them now) and still they think they are some top level team. The SL fans suffer from Hallucinations & Illusions of Grandeur.

  • narbavi on December 4, 2012, 11:49 GMT

    @sinhaya: Mate you are giving another excuse here, NZ beat SL because of Vaas? Come on give credit to their players, always you come up with some sort of excuse or the other to defend your team!!

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