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Khawaja sums up Aussies' batting woes

AAP logoAAP 5/08/2016 Will Knight

Usman Khawaja was at the crease at the start of day two in Galle and almost there at the end; unfortunately for Australia it wasn't one innings but two.

Khawaja's double failure in the second Test against Sri Lanka on Friday probably summed up where Australia are mentally in the island nation - all at sea against against the spinners.

The tourists had a longer-than-usual preparation before the first Test - about two weeks - and as coach Darren Lehmann noted they were saying all the right things about being well equipped to take on the left-arm finger spin, right-arm off-spin, left-arm wrist spin and anything else in between.

Unfortunately for Australia, those predictions have fallen well short and they're on the verge of losing not just the second Test but the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy for the first time.

Khawaja, a fine player who had scored a ton of runs against New Zealand and the West Indies over the Australian summer, is but one batsman to have struggled with slow bowling on the dry pitches in Kandy and Galle.

His twin day-two dismissals showed he's a far cry psychologically from where he was when he was peeling off 140 against the Kiwis in Wellington in February.

In the second over of the morning, Dilruwan Perera got him stuck on the crease to a fairly full ball, Khawaja was late on the shot and was bowled off-stump for 11.

Australia went on to make just 106 - their lowest-ever score against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka replied in the second innings with 237, leaving Australia to make a near-record 413 to win and level the series.

It was an almost impossible task but when they went to stumps at 3-25 after six overs, the mental scars were clear to see.

Coming in at 2-10 following the departures of Joe Burns and Nathan Lyon, Khawaja left his first ball - also from Perera - and was bowled.

Lehmann was asked whether Australia's batsmen were doing it tough mentally.

"I would think so yeah," he said.

"We've made some poor decisions against some good bowling there's no doubt about that but we've got to be better than that if you want to succeed in these conditions."

Lehmann then didn't hold back on the application of his batsmen despite being happy with the preparation for the series.

"It gets down to the pressure in the middle of a Test match and being able to cope with it," he said.

"Certainly there's some blokes who want to look at themselves how they want to go about it in these conditions. We've talked a good game in the media how we want to play (but) we are certainly not showing up at the moment."

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