Australia set for Sri Lankan spin assault

Pallekele (Sri Lanka): Australia are gearing up for a Sri Lankan spin assault when the two teams clash in a five-match one-day series starting in Pallekele on Wednesday.

Tillakaratne Dilshan`s home side, buoyant after winning both Twenty20 internationals at the same venue over the past three days, hope to carry the momentum into the one-day matches.

Australia`s uneasiness at facing spin was exposed on Monday when unorthodox slow bowler Ajantha Mendis grabbed 6-16, the best figures ever in Twenty20 cricket, to fashion his team`s remarkable win.

The tourists, chasing Sri Lanka`s 157-9, were cruising at 71-0 on the back of Shane Watson`s attacking half-century before nine wickets fell for 78 runs.

Dilshan said the Twenty20 wins will give his side the advantage in the one-dayers and the three Test matches that follow.

"It is good to make a winning start against a strong side like Australia and I am sure we can carry the momentum into the one-dayers," said Dilshan, who struck an unbeaten century in the first match.

"The one-dayers will be a lot tougher, but I am confident we will do well."

Cameron White, Australia`s Twenty20 captain who will return home this week since he is not part of either the one-day or Test squads, said a spin test awaited the tourists.

"It`s going to be the same during the one-day series," said White. "It`ll be hard and tough work for the batsmen against the spinners.”

"It`s no secret. It`s just going to be about who can come out on top at the end of the series."

Australia will be bolstered by the return of captain Michael Clarke and senior pros Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, who skipped the Twenty20 games but have considerable experience when it comes to facing spin bowlers.

White hoped the experience of the trio will help Australia, the world`s top-ranked one-day team, tackle Mendis and the other spinners better.

"These seniors have seen a lot of Mendis in the past which is a definite advantage," he said. "The more you play such bowlers, the easier it becomes to face them."

It was unclear if Sri Lanka, finalists in the last two World Cups, will include sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga and opening batsman Upul Tharanga.

Malinga told local media last week he was fit after missing the Twenty20 games due to injury, while Tharanga has served out a three-month suspension on dope-related charges.

Bureau Report

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