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No excuses in Sri Lanka: Marsh

AAP logoAAP 31/07/2016 Will Knight

Frustrated chairman of selectors Rod Marsh says Australia's players were given every possible opportunity to prepare to beat Sri Lanka.

The top-ranked tourists collapsed to a shock first Test defeat in Kandy on Saturday and Marsh was left scratching his head.

"What else can we do really?" said Marsh when asked if Cricket Australia had devoted enough resources to preparing the Test squad to play in Asia.

The 106-run loss in Kandy was Australia's seventh in a row against subcontinent teams following a 2-0 series defeat to Pakistan in 2014 in the UAE and a 4-0 mauling at the hands of India 18 months earlier.

Given Australia are heading to India early next year, there was a longer-than-usual preparation for the Sri Lanka tour to get accustomed to the dry, turning wickets.

"We send them off to India, we send them to other parts of the world where the ball turns, we play A series in India last year and they batted well against good spin bowling," said Marsh.

"But it gets to a Test match and whether it's the extra pressure of it being a Test match, whether it's the fact that we historically haven't done well on turning pitches on the subcontinent.

"Whether that plays on their minds I'm not sure. But it's a work in progress. There was some positive signs as well."

Australia now face a tough task to retain the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy given the Galle wicket for the second Test starting Thursday is regarded as being the biggest-turning and fastest-wearing pitch of the three Test venues.

Apart from the hamstring injury to spinner Stephen O'Keefe, which has Victoria's Jon Holland set to make his Test debut in the southern coastal city, Marsh doesn't envisage any more changes to the XI.

"I don't think we can pick a better team," he said.

"We've got all the people who deserve to be here... everyone's had the preparation for this tour, we couldn't have done any more, and we had an opportunity after bowling them out for 117, we only make 200 - unbelievable."

Mitch Marsh's place in the side seems safe despite his failure to again push on to a big score in Kandy when he made 31 and 25 batting at No.6.

His older brother Shaun could be a candidate to strengthen the batting line-up while all-rounder Moises Henriques is ready to pounce for a chance.

"(Mitch) started beautifully on both occasions... he's in good nick," said Marsh.

"His bowling's probably kept him in the side to a degree, but his bowling's going to be less important here than his batting. He's got a big reach as well, and I think that helps often on turning pitches."

Australia certainly need more runs out of the top-three of David Warner, Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja, all of whom have scored heavily over the past 10 months.

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