With question marks over their adaptability to play Test cricket in overseas conditions, the national cricket team reached Australia’s capital Canberra yesterday ahead of the second Test match that gets underway at the Manuka Oval on Friday.
The Sri Lankans are scheduled to train this afternoon and the conditions here will be to their liking compared to the Gabba in Brisbane where they were undone by pace and bounce. Unlike the first game, the second Test will be a red ball day game.
Canberra has only hosted limited overs cricket before and it is the flattest surface in Australia with one-day games here producing more than six runs an over.
Given the batting collapse at the Gabba, where only one half-century was scored in both innings, the Sri Lankans should put up an improved performance in the second Test with captain Dinesh Chandimal, deputy Dimuth Karunaratne and the prolific Kusal Mendis expected to shoulder most of the burden in the absence of the injured Angelo Mathews.
Mendis is the batsman in form having posted an unbeaten 141 last month against New Zealand in Wellington.
Sri Lanka have played one ODI in Canberra and that was 11 years ago when they beat India by eight wickets in the Commonwealth Bank Series also involving hosts Australia.
Sri Lanka’s selectors sprung a major surprise when they called up the uncapped Chamika Karunaratne as replacement for the injured Lahiru Kumara. The former Sri Lanka Undre-19 captain impressed in the four day unofficial Test against Ireland scoring a century and taking three wickets in an innings at Suriyawewa. The 22-year-old is the younger brother of badminton players Dinuka and Niluka Karunaratne.
His selection was surprising as the team management had requested for either Shehan Madushanka or Hasitha Fernando.