David Warner declared the “extreme” pitches Sri Lanka have prepared during their one-day international series victory may backfire on the hosts, suggesting they have given Australia ideal preparation for the upcoming Test campaign.
Warner was upbeat, and combative, despite falling one short run of his 19th century ODI as Sri Lanka took an unassailable 3-1 ODI series lead after the Aussies’ dramatic last-over defeat on Tuesday evening in Colombo.
Sri Lanka unleashed six different spinners on the same R Premadasa Stadium pitch that had been used only 48 hours earlier for the preceding game, exposing Australia to more than 40 overs of spin for just the fifth time in their 51-year ODI history.
With sharp-spinning surfaces also expected for the two Tests in Galle, Warner insisted Sri Lanka’s tactics had played into their hands.
“We’re always expecting turning wickets and it’s preparation for us … it’s fantastic great practice leading into the Test series,” the 35-year-old said after the four-run loss.
“We actually love that they’re playing on the wickets back-to-back, that’s what we want, we can’t get that practice in the nets – the nets are green.
“For us it’s great practice out in the middle with these dustbowls. It’s going to be exciting for the Test matches in Galle because we know what we’re going to get there.”
Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Cameron Green are the batters that played in last night’s ODI and can expect to feature in the Test series, while Steve Smith featured earlier in the series before an injury.
Warner, who along with current Test squad members Smith and Usman Khawaja also played in their last Tests in Sri Lanka six years ago, labeled the wickets for that 2016 series as “diabolical”.
Sri Lanka won that campaign 3-0, in no small part due to the wily left-arm spin of 38-year-old Rangana Herath who bewildered the tourists with 28 wickets at 12.75.
Warner was Australia’s leading batter on their tour of Bangladesh the following year, scoring centuries in each of the two Tests, including one in the series opener in Dhaka where conditions were also heavily tipped in the favor of slow bowlers.
“This is extreme spin, you don’t usually see these types of wickets, you only see them here,” he said. “India is completely different, they’re actually good wickets and they turn day three and four.
“It’s about being busy – I remember playing in Dhaka, that was one of the worst wickets I’ve ever played on, and I made a hundred.
“It’s about committing, it’s about concentration and it’s about batting long periods of time.
“In the subcontinent, one little mistake will cost you. You’ve got to be ‘on’ all the time.
“It’s going to be difficult, especially with the heat, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Warner batted for nearly three hours on Tuesday evening in sweltering conditions, admitting he was cramping in both calves when he was stumped for 99 in a match-turning late collapse of 3-3.
The opener, who struck 12 boundaries on the way to the highest score for the visitors in the 50-over series so far, stressed the importance of maintaining an aggressive approach in the longer format.
“In one-day cricket you’ve got to try and go for it, so it actually helps you be positive. You can take that into the Test match series – use your feet, get deep in your crease, come at them a little bit,” said Warner.
“We’re seeing what they’re going to deliver.
“These are things that we expect (and) that happened in 2016 – it’s just there’s no Rangana Herath (this time). They’ve obviously got other spinners who are in their Test team but it’s nothing that’s going to be unexpected for us. ”
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
June 7: Australia won first T20 by 10 wickets
June 8: Australia won second T20 by three wickets
June 11: Sri Lanka won third T20 by four wickets
Sri Lanka ODI squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Menesh Chameera, Asitha Thus, Fernando, Ramandi thus, Fernando, Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Madushanka, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Matt Kuhnemann, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc , Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: Australia won first ODI by two wickets (DLS)
June 16: Sri Lanka won second ODI by 26 runs (DLS)
June 19: Sri Lanka won third ODI by six wickets
June 21: Sri Lanka won fourth ODI by four runs
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
Sri Lanka Test squad (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Dilshan Madruhanus Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan
Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 29 – July 3: First Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
July 8-12: Second Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
All Sri Lanka v Australia international fixtures will be screened live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports
Australia A fixtures
Australia A squad: Scott Boland, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Nathan McAndrew, Todd Murphy, Jimmy Peirson, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
Sri Lanka A one-day squad: Dhananjaya de Silva (c), Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Udara, Lasith Croospulle, Oshada Fernando, Pabasara Waduge, Kamindu Mendis, Ashen Bandara, Janitha Liyanage, Sahan Arachchi, Pulina Tharanga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan, Shiran not due Fernan to injury), Dilshan Madushanka, Pramod Madushan, Nishan Madushka, Ashen Daniel, Nisala Tharaka
June 8: Australia A won by seven wickets
June 10: Sri Lanka A won by four wickets
June 14-17: Australia A won by 68 runs
June 21-24: four-day match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota