Sri Lankan bowlers toil on first day of tour
Scott Henry cuts the ball on his way to a ton. Photo: Graham Tidy
Based on first impressions, Sri Lanka is in store for a long, hot and ultimately unsuccessful Australian summer.
Having never won a Test match in this country in 25 years, that drought seems likely to continue after the Sri Lankans spent their opening day on tour chasing leather against a Chairman's XI in Canberra.
Sri Lanka's second-string bowling attack hardly made a dent in the opposition, taking just four wickets on a flat and unhelpful Manuka Oval pitch. An unbeaten 172 from unheralded NSW opener Scott Henry and half-centuries to Australian Twenty20 representative Glenn Maxwell (91) and Usman Khawaja (56) helped the Chairman's XI plunder 390 runs.
Henry will be satisfied if he is able to continue the assault and do Michael Clarke and his men a favour before the Test series.
''Hopefully, we can send them to the Aussies with their tail between their legs,'' Henry said. ''They just kind of went through the motions.
''Maybe they were working towards plans they wanted to work on for the first Test … you don't know.''
Sri Lanka elected to rest four of its first-choice players, a surprising decision given the first Test in Hobart is only a week away.
Middle-order batsman TM Dilshan, captain-in-waiting Angelo Mathews, left-arm orthodox spinner Rangana Herath - the world's leading Test wicket-taker this year - and paceman Nuwan Kulasekara were all witnesses to the carnage.
Right-arm medium-pacer Shaminda Eranga (1-22 from 15 overs) was the pick of the bowlers before being forced to leave the field with a hand injury, while fellow seamer Dhammika Prasad (0-101) and off-spinner Suraj Randiv (1-109) finished with unwanted tons.
Eranga said the injury was not major and downplayed the significance of the tough day in the field. ''We're not really worried that we only took four wickets, because every player was given a plan to bowl at,'' Eranga said.
''We rested some of our key players and gave some of the guys coming back from injury a go. I wouldn't say we're over the moon, but we're quite happy with the outing we had.''
Khawaja started in laborious fashion, taking 57 balls to score his first 10 runs, but opened his shoulders in preparation for his appearance for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League on Saturday.
The Queensland batsman, overlooked for the Test team in favour of Phil Hughes, let a century go begging when he was caught at short cover, with fellow contender Alex Doolan also missing out, bowled by Randiv for four. ACT Comets captain Jono Dean will replace Khawaja for the final day of the game on Saturday.