COLOMBO: Australian pace bowler Josh Hazlewood has conceded that his team could go into the two-Test series against Sri Lanka with just one specialist pace bowler, given the spin-friendly tracks here.
The Aaron Finch-led Australian white-ball side will begin their tour with a three-match T20I series from June 7, which will be followed by a five-match ODI series and the tour will culminate with Pat Cummins leading the side in the two Tests at Galle (June 29-July 3 and July 8-12).
While the pace trio of Test skipper Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have usually bowled in tandem, there is the possibility of just one specialist quick being picked for each of the two games at Galle, given the spin-friendly nature of the pitch at the venue.
The last time Australia toured Sri Lanka in 2016, the hosts won by 229 runs inside three days with only five overs of pace being bowled. Following the three-Test series against Pakistan on sub-continental pitches, Hazlewood and the likes are bracing for a scenario where Cummins and all-rounder Cameron Green are the only pace bowling options selected, said a report in Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday.
"It's probably me who is a bit slower in air speed who drops out on spinning wickets, and we could even go with one less quick here in Sri Lanka," Hazlewood was quoted as saying in the report from Colombo.
"Galle can reverse swing, last time there was quite a strong wind across the ground, so reverse swing came into play there with the abrasive surface. Sri Lanka only bowled two overs of quicks for the whole game, so that tells you what wicket we might get," he added.
Hazlewood added that when he got dropped after the drawn first Test against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in early March this year, he wasn't surprised one bit, given the wicket had nothing for pace bowlers.
"After playing on that first wicket I was pretty happy I think to sit on the sidelines for the next two (Tests vs Pakistan) — it was quite hard work. We're lucky to have Cam Green there to cover a lot of bases," added Hazlewood.
While the 2016 tour of Sri Lanka may have left painful memories of the loss, as Australia had gone to the Island nation as favourites, Hazlewood feels his team's recent success in Pakistan (Australia won the three-Test series 1-0) puts it in a far better position to come out trumps this time around.
"Coming here last time (in 2016) there were a lot of guys, if not their first subcontinent tour then probably second or third, and we were still quite young and inexperienced. We were No. 1, but we'd played a fair bit of cricket at home and in New Zealand as well.
"We've got some experience now; we're a lot more confident in how our game holds up in these conditions, whatever format, in particular the Test team. They've played a lot of cricket in the subcontinent and a lot of cricket together now. The confidence and experience is a lot higher," he added. IANS
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