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Sri Lankan bowlers cop Aussie initiation

Published: 9:03PM Thursday December 06, 2012 Source: AAP

  • Suraj Randiv of Sri Lanka (Source: Getty Images)
    Suraj Randiv of Sri Lanka - Source: Getty Images

Sri Lanka's misfiring bowling attack had their first taste of Australian conditions today - and the results weren't pretty.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene predicted the Sri Lankans would need to quickly adjust to the different wickets in Australia, factoring in the varied pace and bounce on offer.

But the toothless Lions certainly failed to achieve that goal on the opening day of their only practice match before their three-Test series Australia, starting in Bellerive next Friday.

Six Sri Lankan bowlers were used as the Chairman's XI racked up 390 for four by stumps today, with unheralded NSW opener Scott Henry leading the way with a brilliant unbeaten 172.

Having rested star spinner Rangana Herath, Test cricket's leading wicket-taker in 2012 with 55 scalps, and No.1 fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara, the Sri Lankans will be wondering who, outside their key pair, will be able to stand up to Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey.

It isn't a historically-strong bowling squad either, with only Herath (174 wickets at 29.67) boasting a career average under 30.

Past him, the figures drop to Shaminda Eranga (10 wickets at 31.8), Kulasekara (41 at 32.97), Chanaka Welagedara (48 at 40.18) and go all the way down to the raw Nuwan Pradeep, who has taken one wicket in three Tests at a cost of 345 runs.

And none of them has played a Test in Australia. To say it's a step down from a Dale Steyn-led South African attack is an understatement.

Coach Graham Ford could do worse than throw out a SOS to 29-year-old paceman Lasith Malinga, who retired from Test cricket last year to prolong his one-day career.

The fearsome quick is already in Australia to play with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash competition.

Without him, Sri Lanka's pace attack lacks pace, venom and variety.

After day one of their clash with the Chairman's XI, Ford will have gained very few answers over who will join Kulasekara and Herath in Hobart next week.

Left-armer Welagedara has not played Test cricket since March due to side and groin injuries, though Jayawardene is known to want him back in the team.

The 31-year-old finished with figures of 1-76 but, outside the prized wicket of Usman Khawaja (56), failed to send down any spells which would give Dave Warner and Ed Cowan nightmares.

The one shining light was Eranga, who ended the day with a bruised right hand and 1-22 from 13 overs.

He lamented the looseness of his teammates but said the team weren't overly concerned about their preparations.

"As a unit, our performance is not consistent because all the players did not contribute the way they should have," Eranga said, through a translator.

"But I did my job and our levels of confidence should not be a problem when we go to bat."

Dhammika Prasad and Pradeep went for a combined 1-154 - and No.2 spinner Suraj Randiv was belted around the park by Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell to have the unflattering figures of 1-121.

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