SL impresses Whatmore
Former World Cup one-day champions Sri Lanka are enjoying an ideal preparation for this year's World Cup contest starting next month despite an unimpressive recent win-loss record, coach Dav Whatmore said here Tuesday.
Back-to-back wins over Australia and England in the tri-nation limited-overs series have eased the pain of the all-out total of 65 against Australia A in Adelaide last week.
Those wins ended a five-match losing streak, helping to improve Sri Lanka's disastrous record on their southern hemisphere tour, now standing at three wins from 10 matches in South Africa and Australia.
Captain Sanath Jayasuriya said Tuesday the transformation had occurred because the "batting and bowling has improved."
But Whatmore said continued exposure to hard, bouncy pitches was paying dividends for a team which achieves most of its success at home.
"This is probably the best World Cup preparation we could have," Whatmore said.
"There's still a fear that the team can get beaten badly again -- and if you keep getting beaten your confidence can take a bit of a knocking.
"But a team like Sri Lanka, coming from our conditions to play one-day cricket in South Africa and then playing here does us no end of good."
On lifeless, dusty pitches at home, Sri Lanka win an impressive 72 per cent of their one-day matches.
In Australia and South Africa, the statistics plummet to 21 per cent and 27 per cent respectively when the bounce and pace trouble players with wristy techniques.
Typically, Sri Lanka tour one country at a time, playing five or six one-dayers before moving on, meaning there is no learning curve.
This time, they have played a string of matches, with at least three more to come, and are learning to play on different surfaces.
Whatmore said while pitches in South Africa and Australia varied from venue to venue, they were generally in stark contrast to those Sri Lanka encountered on the subcontinent.
"By and large, in South Africa and Australia the ball bounces and carries to the wicketkeeper and it's a test for us under those conditions," he said. "That's why repeatedly playing in these conditions does us no harm at all."
Sri Lanka will bat on the second fastest pitch in Australia when they come up against the home country in a tri-nation clash at the 'Gabba ground in Brisbane Wednesday.
Perth's WACA Ground is recognised as having Australia's fastest pitches.
Sri Lanka were all out for 163 when they were beaten by England at the WACA last month.