Sri Lanka have closely studied the way India defeated Australia in their recent Test series, but captain Dinesh Chandimal said on Wednesday his side will still need a miracle to do the same.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Thursday’s opening Test at the Gabba, Chandimal was cautious when asked about Sri Lanka’s chances.
“It’s definitely a challenge for us, and if you can take this challenge — and as a batsman or as a bowler you give it your best shot and give 200 percent to the team — we can do a miracle here,” he said.
“That’s what we want to do as a team, and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
Chandimal said he had kept a close eye on the “outstanding cricket” played by India in their first Test series win in Australia, which wrapped up earlier this month.
“When India were bowling between 40 and 80 overs they didn’t give any runs away in that period. They kept it at under three an over. That’s the area where I think they won the series,” he said.
“If we want to win a game that is the area we’ll have to improve, and we’re aware of that.”
The Sri Lankan skipper said he wasn’t perturbed by the notoriously fast and bouncy Gabba wicket.
“When you look at the pitch you can see a lot of grass on the wicket,” he said.
“We have got really good fast bowlers — Suranga (Lakmal), Lahiru Kumara, (Dushmantha) Chameera. Kumar can bowl over 140 (kilometres per hour) — so that’s a real plus,” he added.
Chandimal said he wanted to make history and become the first Sri Lankan captain to win a Test series in Australia, but wouldn’t take his opponents lightly.
“We never underestimate the Australians,” he said.
“They have some really good players, but in their batting unit they are missing a lot of experienced players. So if we can get early wickets we can put them under pressure.”
Australia name two debutants for first Sri Lanka Test
Australia have named debutants Kurtis Patterson and Jhye Richardson and recalled opener Joe Burns for the first Test against Sri Lanka beginning in Brisbane on Thursday.
Patterson scored centuries in both innings playing for the Cricket Australia XI against Sri Lanka in Hobart last week, prompting selectors to call him into the squad.
The 25-year-old has scored 3,813 first-class runs for New South Wales at an average of 41.00 and will bat at number six.
West Australian fast bowler Richardson, who was impressive in the ODI series against India, comes in for the injured Josh Hazlewood.
Selectors resisted the temptation to blood 20-year-old batsman Will Pucovski, who many are touting as the next Ricky Ponting, opting instead for the experienced Burns.
Burns, 29, played his last Test against South Africa in April last year but has three Test centuries to his name.
Left arm seamer Vishwa Fernando will replace injured Nuwan Pradeep in the squad. Pradeep suffered a hamtring injury and was ruled out of the entire series.
Australia Test side: Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson, Tim Paine (c/wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon. Peter Siddle (12th man)
Sri Lanka squad: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal,Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha