AAP: Sri Lanka are expecting to face a focused Australian team in their upcoming one-day series, rather than a side pre-occupied by regaining the Ashes.
The Sri Lankans play Australia in three one-day internationals next month, on November 3, 5 and 7, just before the first Ashes Test against England gets underway at the Gabba on November 25.
But Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara expects a typically fierce one-day showdown with the Australians, which also includes a Twenty20 in Perth on October 31.
“I think they take every single game they play seriously and always play their best in one-day series against us,” Sangakkara said after their one-day tour match against NSW at the SCG was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to pit ourselves against the Australians and see where we’re at, especially on tracks that are foreign to us.”
The tourists spent a frustrating afternoon on Sunday waiting for the weather to clear up so they could get some valuable practice in Australian conditions against a Blues side boasting Brett Lee and Phil Hughes.
Instead, they were left twiddling their thumbs in the dressing rooms, plus some limited practice in the SCG’s indoor nets.
Their next match is a T20 game against the Blues in Blacktown on Wednesday.
“It is (frustrating), it would’ve been nice to play a game against such a competitive side,” Sangakkara said.
“But we managed to get some good practice in while we were waiting.
“The indoor nets were fine so we managed to do a bit of preparation and hopefully conditions will be better on Wednesday.”
Muttiah Muralitharan was never going to play on Sunday and will have his first match of the tour in the T20 game on Wednesday.
The Sri Lankans have been rising up the rankings in both limited overs and Test cricket in recent times and are looking forward to taking on the Australians, the No.1-ranked team in one-day cricket.
“Definitely, it’s always the toughest thing to play the Aussies, especially in Australia,” Sangakkara said.
“The last one-and-a-half years have been very steady for us, we’ve been progressing in both forms of the game, hopefully we can execute the things we’ve prepared and trained for in match days.”
Sangakkara wasn’t sure who would have the edge in the Ashes series, but expected some of the fresher faces in the Australian team to want to prove a point in such a high-pressure contest.
“I’m not really sure, the Ashes is iconic, especially for Australia and the English,” he said.
“That’s the way cricket progresses. Great players come and go, new players come and take their place and they’ve got to earn the stripes.
“Everyone coming newly into any team would want to do that.”
No play in Sri Lanka-NSW one-dayer
The one-day match between Sri Lanka and NSW at the SCG has been called off without a ball being bowled due to the inclement weather in Sydney.
Rain has fallen steadily throughout the day with the covers remaining on at the ground and rival captains Kumar Sangakkara and Stephen O’Keefe made the decision at 1715 (AEDT) to call the match off.
The Sri Lankans had been keen to get through some overs on Sunday, but instead conducted some training sessions at the SCG’s indoor nets ahead of their next match, a Twenty20 clash against the Blues at Blacktown on Wednesday.
The tourists are in Australia for a three-match one-day series against the home side, starting next month.