You've been warned ... batting coach Stuart Law has cautioned Australian skipper Michael Clarke against underestimating the tourists. Photo: Getty Images
AUSTRALIA'S batting coach and former Sri Lanka coach, Stuart Law, is adamant Michael Clarke's team will be flirting with danger if they treat the tourists with a lack of respect.
Sri Lanka are at long odds of $7.50 with TAB Sportsbet to win the first Test at Bellerive Oval, starting on Friday, while the hosts have shortened to $1.52 to triumph in Hobart and $1.23 to take the series.
Those prices indicate Australia are morals to romp home with little trouble, but Law, who spent 18 months as Sri Lanka's assistant coach before a brief stint as head coach last year, said the visitors would not be treated as the second-class citizens of Test cricket. ''The one thing I do know about them is they're competitive and they're very proud of their achievements and what they can do on a cricket field,'' said Law, who is Australia's interim batting coach.
''My message to the Aussies if we don't respect them and we don't play good cricket, well, the Sri Lankans are there and they can hurt you. I remember Sri Lanka came here in 2010 and beat Australia 2-1 in a one-day series. They do have that ability. They go into every game thinking they can win.''
Law was also Bangladesh's head coach for nine months before replacing Justin Langer this summer as technical director of Australia's batsmen when the former Test opener took charge of troubled Western Australia.
The Queenslander has not yet been offered the role full-time but for now can provide valuable insight from the other side of the fence thanks to his time in Colombo. He worked closely with the prolific Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera, and is fully aware they can cause Australia headaches.
''They've gone through some rebuilding, and they haven't had results they would have liked recently, but they still play attractively,'' he said. ''Their dangers are the fact that they have got a fantastic batting line-up; you've got a lot of Test matches there in the middle order and three guys averaging over 50. A guy like [Tillakaratne] Dilshan is like Dave Warner in that he can take the match away from you in the blink of an eye.
''The message to anyone [about their batsmen] is to get them early. Get them in, and get them out. Disciplined lengths and lines may not be the only thing you need to do but it's a good starting point.
''Any slight misjudgment and they're quick to pounce.''