Sri Lanka looking to grind out Test wins - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sri Lanka looking to grind out Test wins

By Daniel Brettig 25/10/2007 07:28:53 PM Comments (0)

Sri Lanka's cricketers have vowed to get under Australian skins this summer, citing dogged, ugly cricket as the best way to achieve a result against the world champions.

As distinct from the verbal approach taken unsuccessfully by India in their recently completed series against Ricky Ponting's side, Sri Lankan vice captain Kumar Sangakkara said harsh deeds, rather than harsh words, were the best means to unsettle the home side.

History shows that the best performed recent visitors to Australia, notably India in 2003-04 and New Zealand in 2001-02, gained drawn series by answering home intimidation with staunch batting, intelligent bowling, alert fielding and a resilient attitude.

Luck played a part, too.

"There is a certain satisfaction in grinding it out - an ugly fifty or ugly hundred when you're struggling is more valuable than a century in a session," Sangakkara wrote for Cricinfo.

"We need to take up time and annoy the opposition.

"If we show heart and stomach for a fight, we should be alright in Australia."

New Zealand and India weren't afraid to bat slowly, wearing down an opposition that enjoys a 4 runs per over sprint by letting plenty of balls go and coaxing the Australian bowlers to aim at the body.

"One-dayers and Twenty20s are about hitting the ball, but Test cricket is about hitting only the bad balls: it's more a game of letting the ball go," Sangakkara said.

"A lot of batsmen think being positive is hitting the ball, but a good positive sign is also getting behind the ball, blocking without hesitation, and using your arms with attitude and intent.

"That sends out the same message to a bowler that hitting a couple of boundaries off him does."

Sangakkara's words are backed up by the composition of the Sri Lankan touring party, with the recall of veteran Marvan Atapattu suggesting there is a desire to balance strokemakers with grinders down the order.

There's also high expectations for the pace bowlers with Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof and Chaminda Vaas, expected to work at building pressure in concert with Muttiah Muralitharan.

"I think we've got a good pace attack, especially Malinga, myself, Vaasy, we've got a good balanced attack, so we can give them something special," Fernando said.

"We've got good variation, swing, pace, bounce, and this is our best chance to beat Australia, so I think we can beat them."

The Sri Lankans showed some signs of rust at their first training session on Thursday morning, several batsmen bowled by a motley assortment of club seamers on green-tinged wickets, but will be better for the run.

They will face a wide variety of opposition in their first warm-up match on Saturday, from the CA contracted leg spinner Cullen Bailey and Australia A paceman Doug Bollinger, neither of whom were wanted by their full-strength state sides, to untried NSW teenager Phillip Hughes.

Hard-hitting West Australian wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi will captain the team, which will arrive and train on Friday afternoon.

Cricket Australia Chairman's XI to face Sri Lanka: Luke Ronchi (c), Cullen Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Callum Ferguson, Aaron Heal, Phillip Hughes, Mick Lewis, Lloyd Mash, Greg Moller, Tom Plant, Paul Rofe.

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