Sri Lanka v Australia, 1st ODI, Pallekele August 9, 2011

Clarke expects hard-fought ODI series

Australia captain Michael Clarke has said that he expects a tough five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka. Clarke takes over as captain from Cameron White, who led the team in the two Twenty20s but is not in the one-day or Test teams.

"Sri Lanka has shown that they are playing some good cricket at the moment in the T-20 matches," Clarke said. "They love playing in their home conditions and it looks like that we will have lot of spin to face. We have obviously seen their bowlers a lot over the years, but there's no guarantee that we are going to have any success. The conditions are very tough to play spin bowling. We have to be at our best and we have to be playing well. I can guarantee that all the boys are excited."

The first game will take place at the Pallakele Stadium on Wednesday and Clarke said the pitch looked fantastic. "Once you get in as a batter, it's a beautiful place to bat. It's just going to be tough to start off the spinners. But look we don't expect anything different throughout the tour. We know wickets are going to be conducive to spin bowling."

Australia lost both T20 Internationals prior to Clarke's arrival, which he said was a good indication that they need to get better in conditions that suit spin. "The boys have been training hard. That's been our main focus in the last couple of months. We are really working hard on our preparations and putting in lot of time and energy in trying to get better. We know that we need to improve in all facets of the game. Few of the boys who have come with the ODI side are good players of spin and hopefully that will help us out."

Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis took 6 for 16 in the second T20, the best figures in the format's international history, and Clarke said that his batters were looking forward to the challenge of facing him. "He's a very good bowler and he has success in his career in all three formats of the game. We know that he's a tough competitor and he spins the ball in both directions. That makes it harder for the batters. We have faced him before and it's going to make our job hard.

"We are looking forward for the challenge. We have obviously seen their bowlers a lot over the years but there's no guarantee that we are going to have any success."

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