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Aussies face more spin tests in Colombo

AAP logoAAP 10/08/2016 Will Knight

There's bound to be no let-up from Sri Lanka's spinners when they attempt to sew up a 3-0 Test series whitewash over Australia, starting in Colombo on Saturday.

Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan are the main reason Australia are battling to hold on to their No.1 Test ranking to England before the third Test even ends.

Australia's batsmen have poked, prodded and perished to the three spinners in heavy defeats in Kandy and Galle and they'll face another stiff examination at Sinhalese Sports Club starting on Saturday.

The SSC pitch is a hard one to get a read on, with Herath and Perera combining for 48 wickets at less than 25 runs each over the last five years to suggest it's another spin-friendly wicket.

In fact, Herath's best bowling figures of 9-127 came at the ground in 2014 in a memorable win over Pakistan in which he finished with a match haul of 14-184.

Just three weeks earlier, Herath and Perera took 17 of the 18 South African wickets to fall as the Proteas hung on for a draw.

However, a year ago India recorded the first victory by a visiting team in 15 Tests at the ground not spearheaded by their two spinners but fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

Sri Lanka's quicks were effective too, with 27 wickets in the match taken by the speedsters.

It suggests there might be a bit of pace and bounce, which will be music to the ears of Mitchell Starc who's coming off Test-best figures of 11-94, but Sri Lanka's tactic of playing just one paceman and three specialists spinners will almost certainly continue given Australia's struggles against the slow bowlers.

Remarkably, the home side's spinners have snared 36 of the 40 Australian wickets to fall in the series.

If anything, captain Angelo Mathews could make a case - with a straight face - for leaving out left-arm paceman Vishwa Fernando, who bowled just two overs in Galle.

Mathews has a great batting record at SSC - 566 runs at 94.33 - including 105 not out in a hard-fought draw against Australia in 2011 when Mike Hussey, Phil Hughes and Michael Clarke all scored centuries.

After two days off, Australia will train at SSC for the first time on Thursday.

Opener Joe Burns spoke on Tuesday about how there's plenty of motivation for Australia to prove they can be competitive in the sub-continent.

Reserve batsman Shaun Marsh is set to come into the equation for a call-up, with Burns and Usman Khawaja under pressure to retain their spots.

RANGANA HERATH'S TEST RECORD AT SSC Matches: 11 Wickets: 60 Average: 28.53 Best bowling: 9-127

HERATH'S TEST RECORD AGAINST AUSTRALIA AT SSC Matches: 3 Wickets: 14 Average: 35.71 Best bowling: 7-157

DILRUWAN PERERA TEST RECORD AT SSC Matches: 2 Wickets: 10 Average: 23.80 Best bowling: 5-69

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