Muttiah Muralitharan terms Australia as favourites against Sri Lanka
Australia are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka to take part in three Tests, five One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals between late July and early September.
Muralitharan feels that given Australia’s current form and Sri Lanka’s recent struggles, the 2015 Cricket World Cup champions will be the favourites to win the upcoming Test series.
“Australia is favourite at the moment because they have played good cricket in the recent past,” Muralitharan told cricket.com.au.
“Sri Lanka on (the) other hand is struggling a bit in all forms of the game so Australia will have an edge over Sri Lanka.
“They have a chance of winning the series because the Sri Lankan side is very inexperienced as lot of players retired recently and they are rebuilding the side so they won’t be strong enough.
“Therefore, Australia I think will have a good chance of winning the series.
“If they use the conditions properly and play their spinners well they definitely have a chance.”
Currently, Australia are the number one ranked team in Test cricket and they will be formally handed the ICC World Test Championship Mace ahead of the first game against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
Citing the slow nature of the pitches in Sri Lanka, Muralitharan feels that spinners will hold the key to success in the upcoming Test series.
Furthermore, Muralitharan added that Australia must tackle left-arm spinner Rangana Herath well if they are to succeed against Sri Lanka.
“Normally you have to play at least two spinners in Sri Lanka because wickets are slower.
“Sometimes wickets take lot of turn, otherwise we have slow wickets and fast bowlers do not have much assistance unless they reverse (swing) the ball.
“Swing bowlers don’t do much in the Sri Lankan conditions so that’s why the spinners come into play.
“They got to have variety to win series in Sri Lanka.
“It is not just about how many spinners you have got.
“It is also about how well you are going to bat against spin.
“Rangana Herath is a very good bowler so they (Australia) will have to tackle him as well.
“You’ve got to put runs on the board for your bowlers to work on it.”
Currently, Australia are on a run of five consecutive series wins against Sri Lanka, a streak which began with the 3-0 clean sweep in 2004.
Overall, between 1983 and 2011, Australia have played a total of 26 Test matches against Sri Lanka and have just suffered one defeat in the year 1999.
© Cricket World 2016