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Australia out to rewrite subcontinent history

Australia arrive in Sri Lanka eager to turn around the recent streak of poor performances in Asian conditions when first Test starts in July 26

Australia have arrived in Sri Lanka more than a fortnight before the first Test against Sri Lanka to allow extra time to acclimatise to subcontinent conditions as they seek to overturn recent poor history in the region.

Since Jason Gillespie scored a double-century as nightwatchman against Bangladesh in April 2006, Australia have won just the one Test. That came at Galle in 2011, when Nathan Lyon captured the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara with his very first ball in Test cricket.

In the same time frame, Australia have lost 10 of the 14 Tests they've played in Asia – including the two against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in October 2014 – and drawn four others.

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And with a rebuilding Sri Lanka team dearly missing retired stars Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, Bupa Support Team Head Coach Darren Lehmann sees this as a perfect time for the Australians to rediscover the winning feeling.

With Steve Smith's men set to return to India in early 2017 following the home summer, Lehmann says much rests on the youthful core of the Australian team.

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"I think we have a good mix and a young group. If they have success now, that stamps you in good stead when you are going on the tours in the future," Lehmann told Fairfax.

"Apart from say (Adam) Voges, you have a core group there, the top six, apart from Voges, who probably could be around for five, six years.

"If they have success now, that stands them in good stead for India, Pakistan, UAE, all that coming up."

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While Voges is 36 he was in sublime form last summer and has showed no signs of slowing down in a stint with Middlesex in English county cricket. But it is the remainder of the top six: Joe Burns (26), David Warner (29), Usman Khawaja (29) and skipper Smith (27) that Lehmman has high hopes for.

Burns and Khawaja impressed in India last winter on the Australia A tour that sparked their paths back into the Australian Test team, and while the team was soundly beaten by Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2014, Warner and Smith were shining lights with the bat.

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"We just have to adjust better," Lehmann said.

"We think we have done that by going a bit earlier, having an extra trial game if you like, and spending a bit more time in the country before we hit the road.

"I think that's the thing about the subcontinent. You can't have a certain way, everyone is different.

"You have to be able to chop and change and oscillate between gears and sometimes you just have to hold and stay in and take the ones, and sometimes it's tough and you have to take the game on."

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The Australians will play an informal intra-squad session, with several rising stars from Cricket Australia's National Performance Squad also in Sri Lanka. The senior team then will play a first-class three-day warm-up match in Colombo before travelling to Kandy for the first Test, starting on July 26.

Warner is not expected to feature in the two-day intra-squad match but is hopeful of playing in the warm-up match against local Test hopefuls as he continues to recover from a finger injury.

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Warner was ruled out of Australia's recent one-day international tri-series in the Caribbean after copping a blow to his left index finger while fielding in St Kitts.

While the 29-year-old hasn't been able to get in the nets for a hit since returning to Australia, he isn't worried about going into the Sri Lanka tour with a lack of practice under his belt.

"I've done that before where I've picked up the bat and gone back out there and tried to play my best and sometimes it comes off," Warner said in Sydney on Friday.

"I always want time in the nets, (but) I've said in the past for me less is more. I prefer to go into a lot of games fresh, I don't usually hit a lot before heading into any series of games.

"I'll definitely look to have a hit when I get to Sri Lanka after the intra-squad game and test to see if I'll be all right for the first-class game."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith