3rd test: Australia looks to end Asian losing streak
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Australia goes into the third and final cricket test against Sri Lanka on Saturday 2-0 down but winning the match may help retain its No. 1 ranking and end a losing streak in Asia.
Captain Steve Smith says his batsmen need to find answers against Sri Lanka's spinners at the Sinhalese Sports Club to prove that they can play well in Asia.
Australia lost the first two tests by 106 runs and 229 runs respectively when its batsmen proved unable to tell which delivery would spin and which would skid on.
''It's difficult, there are many (fielders) around the bat and things are happening, balls are spinning and some going straight,'' Smith said.
Since winning a three-match test series 1-0 in Sri Lanka in 2011, Australia lost 2-0 against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and went down in all four matches in India.
''We have to try and find a way to prove to ourselves that we can play in these conditions,'' Smith said on the eve of the match.
''For us the series is gone, but there is plenty to play for in Colombo.''
A 2-1 defeat in the series will still help Australia stay in contention for the top rank depending on how India, England and Pakistan perform in their current test series.
Smith asked his players to be proactive in scoring runs and to take control of the game.
''You have to find a way to survive and the best way to do that is by being proactive in your thinking and trying to score runs.''
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said his players are chasing the series sweep.
Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal, who missed out on the first two matches because of injury, returns to the Sri Lanka team with Vishwa Fernando likely to make way for him.
Mathews and team management are keen to give another opportunity to openers Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva, despite failures in the series.
Australian batsman Adam Voges has a hamstring injury which needs to be assessed before naming the final eleven, Smith said.
Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan.
Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jackson Bird, Jon Holland.