Sri Lanka applied the same strategy against Australia, what India is famous for: prepare rank turners for non-asian touring sides! And nothing wrong in this. Unfortunately, neither Sri Lankan batters nor spinners could utilize the perfect conditions for the home side. It resulted a humiliating defeat for Sri Lanka and a 10-wicket thumping victory for Australia.
Going to bat for their second innings on third day of play, Sri Lanka, even though trailing by 109 runs, was still expected to take control in the match! The history was also in Sri Lanka’s favour: while touring Island, Australia had never won a test match batting second. All their previous 7 wins came batting first! So, the simple stratgey for Sri Lanka batters was to erase the lead and give their bowlers somewhere between 150-170 to defend.
Instead, all Sri Lanka batters could offer to their bowlers is a 4 runs lead! When they were expected to bat for a day at least, they bowled out inside two hours, in mere 22.5 overs.
“We have been playing in these conditions, we know how to play turn, but the decisions we took were horrible” Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne told during the post match presentation.
Indeed, it was horrible to see Sri Lanka batters struggle against spinners, that too in their own backyard. It was equally shocking to see Sri Lanka spinners failing on rank turners like Galle. That Galle Pitch offers turn from day one, is a well known fact. But this time around, Sri Lanka batters and bowlers both were outplayed by Australian counterparts, perfectly led by veterans Usman Khawaja and Nathan Lyon, who bagged 9 wickets in the match. For Sri Lanka, unfortunately, exept for Ramesh Mendis, other spinners were woefully out of form. In batting, only Niroshan Dickwela could salvage the pride to some extent with a counterattacking half-century.
Now, onus is on Sri Lanka to draw the series, especially when the second test will also be played on the same ground. As spin will likely be the order of the day once more, both Sri Lanka batters and bowlers (spinners) will have to plan something out of the box against superior and better prepared Australians!