You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Swing king early on for Aussie bowlers

AAP logoAAP 24/07/2016 Will Knight

Before the spin comes the swing, and it could prove Australia's trump card in getting their Test series against Sri Lanka off to a winning start in Kandy.

Mitchell Starc returns to spearhead skipper Steve Smith's attack, having missed Australia's past six Tests due to ankle and foot issues.

The left-arm paceman looms as a pivotal figure along with Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh in the small window for swing with the new ball, before the attack is turned over to spin duo Nathan Lyon and Stephen O'Keefe.

The historical city of Kandy in central Sri Lanka is surrounded by the country's famous tea plantations, and is likely to give more assistance to the swing bowlers than the other two Test venues in Galle and Colombo.

Of the four Tests played at Pallekele Stadium, the skipper who has won the toss has opted to bowl first on three occasions.

In the other instance, Tillakaratne Dilshan opted to bat in 2011 and Australia's swing bowlers Ryan Harris (3-38) and Trent Copeland (2-24) went through Sri Lanka's top order on the way to skittling them for 174.

Helping with the possibility of early swing for the Test starting on Tuesday is the forecast of cloud cover.

Australian vice-captain David Warner expects conditions at Pallekele to be similar to those in the tour match last week in Colombo when Australia thrashed a Sri Lanka Board XI.

"If you look at the wicket the other day at P Sara (Stadium) it wasn't actually a turning wicket," he said.

"It actually had nice grass coverage. The ball did go reverse (swing) a little bit and they're probably the conditions we're going to face here.

"We know naturally here in the first couple of days it can swing around in Kandy and obviously overhead conditions will play a role in that."

Once the hardness goes out of the ball, both sides will be looking to get some reverse swing which can be just as lethal as spin as the pitch wears.

Australia look to hold an advantage in the swing and pace stakes, with Sri Lanka missing front-line quicks Dhammika Prasad and Dushmantha Chameera through injury and Shaminda Eranga suspended due to a suspect action.

Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal both average in the 40s in Test cricket but are set to take on the fast-bowling workload in their absence.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon