Sri Lanka in India, 2005-06 November 21, 2005

Sri Lanka will bounce back in Tests, insists Moody


Big boots to fill: Chamara Kapugedara comes in for Sanath Jayasuriya © Getty Images
Tom Moody, Sri Lanka's coach, feels that Sri Lanka have put their dismal one-day tour of India behind them and are geared up for a better show in next month's Test series. India, who thrashed a lacklustre Sri Lanka 6-1 in the one-day series earlier this month, will host them again for three Tests starting in Chennai on December 2.

"Great teams are those which bounce back after a bad series," Moody told reporters ahead of the team's departure for India on Friday. "The Tests are an opportunity to show our class." Moody felt the experience of the one-day tour will help Sri Lanka plan for the Test matches. "We learnt a lot during the one-dayers and the Tests will really show the true potential of the team. We had a good look at some of their players who were relatively new on the big stage and also at their strategies."

Sri Lanka, who went into the one-day series ranked second in the world in ODI rankings, never recovered after crashing to four successive defeats. "The confidence of the individuals suffered a lot after those defeats," Moody said. "Our batting lacked consistency and put tremendous pressure on the bowlers."

The Sri Lankan selectors axed veteran Sanath Jayasuriya for the Tests, replacing him with Chamara Kapugedara, a promising 18-year-old who has played just one first-class game. Other uncapped players in the team are Sajeeva Weerakoon, the 27-year-old left-arm spinner, and Upul Tharanga, the 20-year-old opener. Avishka Gunawardene, the left-hand opener, has also been recalled along with Malinga Bandara, the legspinner, who played his lone Test against New Zealand in 1998.

The good news for Sri Lanka is that Muttiah Muralitharan, the spin wizard, and Farveez Maharoof, the allrounder, are fit again after suffering injuries in India. Sri Lanka will play a three-day practice match at Bangalore from November 26. The second Test will be played at New Delhi from December 10 and the third at Kanpur from December 18.