Strug­gling Oz des­per­ate to re­tain crown

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

COLOMBO — Strug­gling Aus­tralia face los­ing their crown as the world’s No 1 team un­less they can pre­vent a ram­pant Sri Lanka from com­plet­ing a series white­wash in the fi­nal Test be­gin­ning this week­end (13-17 Au­gust).

Steve Smith, who had an un­beaten record as Test skip­per ahead of the three-match series, will be des­per­ate to go home with a con­so­la­tion vic­tory to pre­vent ei­ther In­dia or Eng­land tak­ing over at the top.

Aus­tralia were only handed the cer­e­mo­nial mace that the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil awards the top-ranked Test team at the start of the series and all­rounder Mitchell Marsh ad­mit­ted it

OR­LANDO Pi­rates and their kit spon­sors Adi­das launched the club’s new home and away jersey for the up­com­ing 2016/2017 sea­son.

The home jersey re­tains its iconic black stripe while it in­tro­duces a new in­ter­pre­ta­tion in its ex­e­cu­tion. The three stripes have changed from their tra­di­tional white to light grey in­stead, and the Vo­da­com logo has taken a hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion across the front of the jersey. A Man­darin col­lar has re­placed the V-neck shape of the pre­vi­ous sea­sons, and the 3D badge which proudly adorns the heart of the jersey com­pletes the look, re­sem­bling the in­tri­cate logo de­tail as will be seen in the jer­seys of Adi­das foot­ball gi­ants who will be play­ing in the would be a bit­ter blow if they had to hand it back so soon.

“It means a hell of a lot. It’s what we strive for,” Marsh said ahead of the fi­nal Test in Colombo.

“It would be very dis­ap­point­ing if we lost that — we haven’t had it for that long, we were re­ally hop­ing to try and stretch the gap.”

Aus­tralia had only ever lost one Test match against Sri Lanka be­fore the series, but were to­tally out­played by their hosts in the first two Tests who have be­lied their place at No 7 in the rank­ings.

If Sri Lanka can win the series fi­nale at the cap­i­tal’s Sin­halese Sports Club (SSC), it will be their first white­wash against a ma­jor team since they at­tained Test sta­tus 35 years ago

The SSC is tra­di­tion­ally a high-scor­ing venue but Aus­tralia’s bats­men have had a mis­er­able tour and man­aged only one half-cen­tury be­tween them in the de­feats in the ear­lier Tests in Pallekele and Galle.

Aus­tralia could well call up the left-handed Shaun Marsh, who scored a cen­tury in one of the warm-up matches, af­ter coach Dar­ren Lehmann in­di­cated there would be changes to the top or­der.

“Well any­where from one to six (in the bat­ting or­der), ev­ery­one in the squad will be con­sid­ered,” Lehmann said. “That’s what hap­pens when you don’t have the re­sults you would like.” — AFP.

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