Australia open their campaign in Sri Lanka with the first of two Twenty20 internationals today, aiming to set a winning tone for the rest of the tour.
Seasoned fast-bowler Brett Lee said he felt the Twenty20s were the right way to start the seven-week tour, which also features five One-Day Internationals (ODI) and three Tests.
“I think it builds the hype,” said the 34-year-old. “If you were to have it towards the end after a Test series, it probably would not work as well. I think the way a tour should be run is that you start with the Twenty20s, then the ODIs and then the Tests.
“It just flows in beautifully into the longer form of the game.”
Australia, once the masters of the game, will look to rebuild their battered reputation during the tour after falling to fifth in Test rankings, one behind Sri Lanka. The tourists, winners of four ODI World Cup titles, were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the last edition played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Australia’s form in cricket’s shortest format has also left much to be desired as they suffered a loss against Sri Lanka last October after a 2-0 defeat against Pakistan. They won their second Twenty20 against England following the Ashes defeat and captain Cameron White, not part of the ODI and Test squads, will be keen to do well as he makes his way back home after the two matches.
Sri Lanka, led by hard-hitting opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, will miss the services of fast-bowler Lasith Malinga due to injury and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who bid farewell to the game. But all-rounder Angelo Mathews, the team’s new vice-captain, was hopeful the bowling attack would look sharp even without the spearheads.
“Lasith and Murali are exceptional people and I think that while we have got talent, nobody can replace them,” he said. “But there are good youngsters coming up.”
Australia and Sri Lanka have so far played four Twenty20 matches, with each team winning two.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2011.
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