Domain Tests v Sri Lanka
SL tearaway to be unleashed on Aussies
Sri Lankan bowling coach enthused by prospect of young speedster Kumara bowling on fast Gabba wicket
22 January 2019, 05:41 PM AEST
While Australia's batsmen will be bracing themselves for the inevitable spin threat posed by Sri Lanka in the first Test on Thursday in Brisbane, they might do well to prepare for some good old-fashioned Gabba pace and bounce from the tourists as well.
In addition to the experienced Suranga Lakmal, who played one Test in Sydney six years ago, the tourists boast an exciting young speedster who many Australians won't be familiar with: 21-year-old right-armer Lahiru Kumara.
Kumara debuted as a 19-year-old two years ago, having been hurried into the side with just two first-class matches to his name, both of which were for Sri Lanka A.
In his third Test, he became the second-youngest Sri Lankan to take a Test five-wicket haul when he claimed 6-122 against the Proteas at Newlands.
"He's an exuberant young boy," bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake told the media in Brisbane on Tuesday.
"He's quick – he's quick in our terms and he might be quick in your terms also, because he sometimes touches 148(kph) but he hits it at a pace of 140 on a more regular basis.
"He's young, needs to learn a bit more but when he's on fire, it's some of the best spells I've seen out of Sri Lanka for a long time, especially in the West Indies."
In the Caribbean last winter, Kumara claimed 17 wickets in three Tests, while in December in New Zealand, the robust quick took nine wickets in two Tests, making it 26 in his past five matches.
Against the Cricket Australia XI in Hobart with the pink ball, he was rested in the first innings and claimed 1-48 from 14 overs in the second, taking the wicket of Australia's incumbent No.3 Marnus Labuschagne.
"He bowled quite well in Hobart," Labuschagne said. "He bustled in and used the crease really well, so he's someone that's going to be a good bowler for them."
Kumara, who hails from Kandy, will have a pink ball in his hand again come Thursday, and Ratnayake said the change of cherry was still a variable all players were getting used to.
"We have played two (pink-ball Tests) in previous times – one with a Duke ball and one with the Kookaburra, and that was played in Dubai," Ratnayake explained.
"It's a different ball, it's a different game. In the nights, it's different – it seams a little bit more and moves a little bit more.
"It hasn't been a consistent work with the pink ball for anybody in the world, really, so it's something really new for us."
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha
Jan 17-19: Tour match, CA XI v SL, Hobart (D/N)
Jan 24-28: First Test, Gabba (D/N)
Feb 1-5: Second Test, Canberra