His­tory, dis­mal NZ se­ries per­for­mance count against Sri Lankan tourists

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT - DANIEL GILHOOLY

STAR­ING at a string of losses, weighed down by his­tory and miss­ing key per­son­nel, Sri Lanka ar­rives in Aus­tralia giv­ing its best im­pres­sion of lambs to the slaugh­ter.

Yes­ter­day, the Lions crossed the Tas­man, re­flect­ing on a dis­as­trous tour of New Zealand, of­fer­ing few glim­mers of hope they’d push Aus­tralia in a two-Test se­ries.

The tour ended on an ap­pro­pri­ate note, ca­pit­u­lat­ing in a run chase to lose the one-off Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional by 35 runs on Fri­day night at Eden Park. Ex­as­per­ated T20 skip­per La­sith Malinga says his team is still learn­ing to win games when it gets into good po­si­tions. Ham­strung by a brit­tle bat­ting line-up and a blunt seam at­tack, the Lions were swept 3-0 by the Black Caps in the one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries and lost 1-0 in the twoTest se­ries.

It would have been 2-0 but rain and a dogged sec­ond-in­nings part­ner­ship be­tween cen­tu­ri­ons Kusal Mendis and An­gelo Math­ews forced a draw in the first Test in Welling­ton.

They were smashed in the sec­ond by 423 runs, hard on the heels of a mis­er­able home­series loss to Eng­land.

Rub­bing salt in the wounds, for­mer skip­per Math­ews — their best bats­man in the New Zealand Tests — will miss the Aus­tralian leg with in­jury. Math­ews led Sri Lanka to its his­toric 3-0 home-Test se­ries drub­bing of Aus­tralia when the teams last met in mid-2016.

That tri­umph had also fol- lowed a bleak pe­riod for the Sri Lankans but it is hard to see them go­ing close to a re­peat in Aus­tralia given they won’t have the same spin-friendly con­di­tions.

Sri Lanka has lost all six se­ries in Aus­tralia and has never won a Test, with 11 losses and two draws.

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