CANBERRA (AFP) – Australia skipper Tim Paine warned yesterday there was no room for complacency after sticking with the same side for the second Test against Sri Lanka as the one that thrashed them in Brisbane.
The home team routed the visitors by an innings and 40 runs under lights at the Gabba and Paine pointed to their recent experience against India, where Australia won a Test in Perth only to be comprehensively beaten in Melbourne.
“We touched on how we had a great win in Perth against India. I thought we turned up pretty poorly and really flat in Melbourne and started that Test match pretty ordinarily,” Paine said.
“And then you get a good side like India in front of you and we couldn’t reel them back in.
“It’s just been making sure our attitude to this Test is spot on and we’re leaving nothing to chance.”
On the back of the Brisbane thumping, Australia have opted to make no changes for the second Test in Canberra starting today against a Sri Lankan team struggling with injuries and off-field dramas.
That includes keeping the under-performing Mitchell Starc as a new-ball bowler.
“We’re unchanged which is nice,” Paine said ahead of the first-ever Test in the nation’s capital, at picturesque Manuka Oval on a track regarded as one of the best batting wickets in the country.
“Coming off a good win we are happy with our combination.”
Limited-overs specialist Marcus Stoinis was added to the squad after Brisbane as a potential fifth bowling option, but Paine said Marnus Labuschagne, who has been in good touch with the bat and can bowl leg-breaks, was preferred.
“This pitch is probably slightly different, we just think that we’ll be able to get more overs out of Marnus on a pitch like this,” he said.
The Canberra Test is Australia’s last before the Ashes tour to England in six months’ time and there are still pieces to the puzzle for selectors to solve.
Pace spearhead Starc needs to find form again after a lean summer with his Test spot – once set in stone – now widely seen as under threat.
Despite his struggles, Paine backed him to deliver and said he would open the bowling as usual.
“We’ve used Starcy for a long time with the new ball,” Paine said.
“We think he is still our best new-ball bowler when he gets it right so we’ll always give him the first few.”
Josh Hazlewood remains injured and will not play in Canberra, with Jhye Richardson handed another opportunity after performing admirably in the first Test.
Selectors also showed faith with the batting line-up, meaning Will Pucovski, one of the brightest talents in the country, misses out again.
Australia’s batsmen have struggled over the summer, including a series defeat to India, with none managing to score a century.
“We’ve talked for a long time about scoring hundreds and the impacts that can have on winning games of cricket and individual careers,” coach Justin Langer said on SEN radio.
“It would be great to see one of the guys, or six of our guys, score a hundred. They’re all working hard towards that.”
Sri Lanka have their own worries with pace duo Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera both ruled out injured.
They have also been dealing with off-field disruptions, including coach Chandika Hathurusingha being stripped of his team selection duties after Brisbane.
“It’s always tough for us as players with so many things happening, but whatever happens off the field we need to keep aside and control what we can control,” said skipper Dinesh Chandimal.