Cricket. Australia’s Test team aren’t as good as they think they are.
Michael Clarke’s men might have swept Sri Lanka 3-0 in the recent Test series, but respected commentator and former Sri Lankan international Russel Arnold says the whitewash has only given Australia false hope.
Arnold believes Australia will struggle to compete in their four-Test tour of India starting next month because of their lack of Test experience and spin bowling deficiencies.
Asked for his opinion on how Australia were placed heading into a gruelling series in difficult sub-continent conditions, Arnold said Clarke’s side might be in for a rude shock.
‘‘Not well I would think, because spin and experience is an issue,’’ said Arnold.
‘‘I think Michael Hussey’s retirement is a massive issue. You just lost Ricky Ponting too, so Michael Clarke is basically left on his own. And playing in India is never easy. They really haven’t got the best out of Nathan Lyon yet, they need someone else I would think to really create pressure and help those fast bowlers out.’’
Speaking at an SCG function before the Sydney Test, Arnold said it was no coincidence that the pitches prepared for the summer’s Tests against the world No.1 South Africans were noticeably less lively than the ones to greet the Sri Lankans.
Australia came out of the summer with their reputation still intact, but Arnold said on Tuesday the side-effect might be an inflated ego.
‘‘I think so, because Sri Lanka were poor – you cannot deny that,’’ Arnold said. ‘‘Especially here in Sydney there were instances where they could have pulled that Test match off ... we did see an opening. Australia have lots of areas to work on.’’
Arnold, who played 44 Tests and 180 ODIs for Sri Lanka, said Angelo Mathews should replace Mahela Jayawardene as the national captain after this series.
Thirty-nine-year-old Arnold believes Sri Lanka’s batting line-up is in good hands with the likes of Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne coming through, however he fears for the immediate future of their bowling attack.
Sri Lanka are locked at 1-1 in the current five-match ODI series, and Arnold is confident they can go on with the job starting with game three in Brisbane on Friday.
‘‘The series is alive. Australia are going to be stronger (with Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matt Wade back) but on the other hand Sri Lanka would now believe,’’ he said.
‘‘That winning feeling can change a lot. The team combination will settle down and they’ll be a big threat.’’