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Sri Lanka v Australia III Test, Colombo — Preview

Steven Smith’s men will aim to avoid a series sweep against an in-form Sri Lankan side riding high on its spin trio

Sri Lanka v Australia III Test, Colombo — Preview - Cricket News
Sri Lanka will eye a historic whitewash over the weary Australians.
Steven Smith, the Australia captain, will lead his team in the third Test against Sri Lanka knowing that at stake are avoiding a series whitewash and protecting Australia’s No.1 rank in Test cricket.
 
Australia has suffered a series whitewash a mere four times in nearly 140 years of the game’s longest format – a remarkable statistic given that the team has played 177 series of three or more Tests. Smith will have to rally his troops around to not add to that when the final match of a three-Test series gets underway at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo on Saturday (August 13).
Sri Lanka had been exceptional in its execution in the first Test at Pallekele where it won by 106 runs. It went one better with yet another particularly stirring show in the second Test to seal the series with a 229-run win at Galle. 
 
The series win in itself was an achievement for Sri Lanka, who had defeated Australia just once — in 1999 where it won the three-Test series 1-0 — in the eleven series they have clashed. Should it come away with a sweep, Angelo Mathews will become only the third Sri Lankan to lead the side to a 3-0 sweep. 


 
One of the primary reasons for Sri Lanka’s success has been its spin trio of Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan. The trio has bowled 221.2 overs, a stark contrast to the 30 sent down by the pacemen, in two Tests and finished with 35 scalps. 
 
With the dry conditions at the SSC expected to bring tweakers into the play once again, Australia will be bracing for another trial by spin. Australia will take heart from the form of Mitchell Starc though, who has run in and fired one thunderbolt after another and is the leading wicket-taker of the series with 17 scalps.
 
In spite of his effort, Australia finds itself with the series already lost and it’s top Test rank in jeopardy. While David Warner, the opener, promised to continue his attacking brand of cricket against Sri Lanka, it’s the home side who will enter the contest as the favourite thanks to its showing so far in the series.

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