10 Aug 2011

Australian cricketers out to combat spin

6:09 am on 10 August 2011

The Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke says his team's ability to blunt Sri Lanka's spin attack will go a long way to determining their success in the five-match one-day series which starts in Kandy tonight.

The tourists don't need to look too far to see just how devastating a failure to repel the home team's spinners can be after Ajantha Mendis' remarkable display in the final Twenty20 in Kandy on Monday night.

The unorthodox spinner ripped through Australia's batting line-up to claim 6-16 - the first six-wicket haul in international T20 cricket - as Sri Lanka wrapped up a 2-nil series sweep with an eight-run victory.

And Clarke concedes despite the additions of himself, former skipper Ricky Ponting and veteran Michael Hussey to the one-day line-up, his team still faces a big challenge to repel Mendis and his counterparts in the Sri Lanka team.

Tonight's series opener is at the same venue as the T20s, the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, but will be played on a newly-prepared pitch.

Despite that, Clarke didn't feel much would change with the on-field conditions.

While Hussey, Clarke, Ponting, Xavier Doherty and Doug Bollinger are the new inclusions for this leg of Australia's tour, the Sri Lankans are also set to receive some handy additions.

Star paceman Lasith Malinga appears to have fully recovered from a back injury and should play tonight after missing the T20 series, while opening batsman Upul Tharanga's three-month ban for a drug test failure ended yesterday.

The Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan says Tharanga is likely to come into the team in an opening role alongside him, with Mahela Jayawardene to slot in at No.4.