Pallekele, Aug 10:After being routed by hosts Sri Lanka in their tour-opening couple of Twenty20 Internationals, Australia will be grappling for answers. The men from Down Under may be in the throes of transitioning with so many newcomers joining the ranks. And while the calibre of their young stock is not altogether a write-off, these men's woes against spin have surfaced clear and plain.
Enter the Aussie veterans Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey and Australia just might throw up a shield against the guile and potency of Lanka's Ajantha Mendis and Co. These three can farm as much of the strike against the tweakers as would allow an inculcation in the newcomers of the knack of negotiating spin.
Meanwhile, Lanka will be looking to target the spin inexperience of Xavier Doherty, Steven Smith and David Hussey. But while, this nearly-novice trio are unlikely to faze the Lankan top-order, their pace-bowling buddies are guaranteed to bring a lot to the table. After all, Brett Lee is the nominal leader of the pace attack and is sure to get incisive support from Doug Bollinger (Australia's subcontinent specialist), Mitchell Johnson and John Hastings.
The key man for Australia is Shane Watson, whose exploits in sub-continent conditions are notoriously well know. His hunger for boundary-piercing is impeccable, as is his ability to strike up long-winded partnerships.
Meanwhile, for Lanka, the lethal prowess of Angelo Mathews with both bat and ball constitutes a player who is a right trump card for his side.
Sri Lanka Squad: 1 Upul Tharanga, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene, 5 Dinesh Chandimal, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis / Suraj Randiv, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Suranga Lakmal / Thisara Perera, 10 Ajantha Mendis, 11 Rangana Herath
Australia Squad: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Brad Haddin (wk) 3 Ricky Ponting, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Michael Hussey, 6 David Hussey / Shaun Marsh, 7 Steven Smith / Xavier Doherty, 8 John Hastings, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Brett Lee, 11 Doug Bollinger