Australia batsman Usman Khawaja has said transitioning to red-ball cricket after a long break from Tests will be his side's biggest challenge in their upcoming series against Sri Lanka. Australia last played a Test in February this year, against New Zealand.
"We haven't played red-ball cricket for a while," Khawaja said. "Weird seeing the red ball coming down the first time when it did [in an intra-squad practice game]. We were out in the field all day yesterday and you forget how tough being out on the field is. Going to have to do five days of it. Test matches is the hardest form, I reckon, mentally and physically. Going five days, especially in heat like this... If it goes that far, it's going to be pretty tough. It gets easier the more you do it.
"In a way it's nice we have got three formats of the game. It can be a lot sometimes but I really enjoyed playing white-ball cricket. Now enjoying coming back for some Test stuff, doing something different."
Since the Tests against New Zealand, Australia have played T20s in South Africa, the World T20 and the ODI tri-series in the West Indies. Khawaja, who announced yesterday that he had got engaged following the tri-series, suggested Sri Lanka's heat could also be an obstacle once the Tests start.
"The weather is a big challenge. Very hot and humid. The conditions are different, similar to what you get in West Indies and India. Not too foreign, but one of those places where if you start scoring some runs, you'll get comfortable. If the wicket deteriorates, though, it could get tough to score too."
Australia's squad of 15 is playing intra-squad warm-up games in Colombo, leading up to the first Test in Pallekele from July 26. That will be followed by Tests in Galle and Colombo, before the limited-overs leg featuring five ODIs and two T20s.