Australia skipper Pat Cummins on Monday said the experience of playing Tests on two vastly different pitches in Sri Lanka would be vital to their preparations for touring India next year. The tourists went down to Sri Lanka by an innings and 39 runs on day four of the second Test in Galle after being bundled out for 151 in just over a session. The performance comes 10 days after Australia hammered the hosts inside three days of the opener on a viciously turning track at the same venue. Australia’s 1-1 result in the island nation comes after their 1-0 Test triumph in Pakistan in March, and India is next on their sub-continental journey, with four five-day games scheduled in February-March 2023.
“Absolutely, last week and this week,” Cummins said on taking lessons from Sri Lanka to India. “I think half our batting lineup and half our bowling lineup hasn’t played a lot over here in the sub-continent. So the experience on these two vastly different wickets, I think we got a lot of lessons out of it to take to India next year.”
He added: “In Australia most likely you only play one spinner, so in the background you’re trying to prepare a couple of other guys so they get the chance over in India.”
Spin played a huge part in the two Tests, with Sri Lankan debutant Prabhat Jayasuriya returning a match haul of 12 wickets in the final game.
Batsmen also had their say on a flatter Galle wicket in the second encounter as Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Chandimal hit an unbeaten 206 and former Australia captain Steve Smith made 145 not out. Cummins said the team was going home better prepared to tackle challenges on away tours.
“We turned up knowing it’s a tough place to win series and games over here,” said Cummins. “So to come away with a series draw, the same team that won last week. It might be a reality check that it’s tough playing away from home. And (the loss) makes for more learning than after a win.”
Nathan Lyon lived up to his billing as the lead spinner and starred with a match haul of nine wickets in the first Test. Marnus Labuschagne, with his 149 series runs, second only to Smith’s 151, and Cameron Green stood out on the Australian batting front on their first tour to Sri Lanka.
Cummins said taking tough calls like keeping out premier pace bowler Josh Hazlewood to get the right balance of the team was key on sub-continent pitches.
“You see that with the bowlers, someone like Joshy Hazlewood sitting on the bench. Glenn Maxwell was a conversation around his batting for this game,” said Cummins.
“The challenge with playing in Asia is unless you give people a go, you don’t know how someone like a Greeny can come out and show he’s up to the task. Others might take a bit longer. So I think it’s striking that balance.”
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