Spin to make life difficult, says White
Australia's limited-overs and Test cricketers will be under no illusions about the difficulty of the task facing them in Sri Lanka after the Twenty20 team was swept 2-0 via the spin of Ajantha Mendis, Cameron White has said.
Twice in as many matches Australia were flummoxed by slow bowling, but the second occasion was far more dramatic as Mendis claimed 6 for 16 to foil the chase after Shane Watson had seemingly set the tourists on the path to a comfortable victory.
White, Australia's Twenty20 captain, will now fly home after not being included in the ODI or Test squads, and he said his team-mates would have to find better ways of starting their innings.
"It was pretty obvious that once there was a couple of new batters, it was quite hard work," White said. "It's going to be no different during the one-day series. It'll be hard and tough work for the batsmen against the spinners.
"Everyone knows that, it's no secret and it's just going to be about who can come out on top at the end of the series."
The Australia ODI squad will benefit from the arrival of the captain Michael Clarke and experienced batsmen Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, who can help to avert the sort of panic that was glimpsed as four wickets went down for four runs in 16 balls on Monday evening.
"A couple of senior players coming back into the side, Michael and Ricky, have seen a lot of Mendis so they'll have, straight from the start, a bit more experience there and I think the more you get to face guys like that, who you haven't seen as much, it becomes easier," White said.
"He's a different bowler but, as I said, the more you get to see of guys like that, the easier they become to face. Definitely, as Mendis showed tonight, he's a very good bowler. Clearly, six wickets in a Twenty20 game for under 20 runs is an unbelievable effort."
Sri Lanka's captain Tillakaratne Dilshan was happy to note that an approach laden with spin bowlers and patience had worked so well to start the tour.
"We knew [if we took] one or two wickets and we could put pressure on them," he said. "We were hanging in [there] and waiting for a breakthrough."