Galle, Aug 30: It will be much more than just a Test series when Australia under their new skipper Michael Clarke clash with the Sri Lankans in the latter's home soil. For a start, it will mark the beginning of a new journey for the Australians who were once termed the best side to have ever played the game of cricket.
Besides it will also be Michael Clarke's first full tour as a skipper after waiting in the wings to what some may say a couple of extra years. And then there is also the prospect of new Aussie youngsters embarking on a journey to reclaim their nations lost cricketing pride.
Sri Lanka, who are also on a rebuilding phase although not upto the levels of the Australians, have a challenge of their own. After the retirement of spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka are now in search of a bowler who can be invested in.
On the batting front, Sri Lanka still have a settled look about themselves with the likes of Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Dilshan and Tharanga. The same cannot be said about the Australians who have to solve their opening woes, first by deciding whom to chose from out of Shaun Marsh and Phil Hughes. Then there is also the prospect of fitting in talented young batsman Usman Khawaja into the playing XI.
And even in the bowling section, Aussies are yet to settle down on a spinner, who can fill the big shoes of legendary spinner Shane Warne. Speaking about the two spinners in his squad, skipper Clarke was quoted by The Age as saying, "They're completely different bowlers. Nathan Lyon probably bowls with a lot more loop and gets a lot more shape. Michael Beer bowls a bit faster and gets it into the wicket so they've both got strengths. I'm impressed with both of them."
He added, "As a combination they're very good together because they're two completely different bowlers. If we have to pick one it's going to be a tough selection."
Meanwhile, this is also the first time since relinquishing captaincy that Ricky Ponting will play as a senior pro in the side. This will once again bring the focus back on his batting as his Test form has for a long time been on the decline. It will be interesting to see how he approaches his game without having to worry about the side's performance.
The match will be played at Galle and is expected to behave like a typical Sri Lankan wicket. It therefore won't be a surprise if the side that wins the toss would elect to bat first.