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Sri Lanka relieved by Marsh's axing


The axing of misfiring Australian batsman Shaun Marsh has provided sweet relief for Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal.

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It may not have been a shock for some when Marsh was dumped for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka starting in Brisbane today.

The 35-year-old averaged just 26.14 in Australia’s maiden Test series loss to India on home soil this summer.

Yet Chandimal couldn’t hide his surprise before the pink ball first Test at the Gabba, saying the Australian selectors’ call may have handed his side a huge advantage.

Marsh was one of three changes for Australia’s new-look Test squad but he was the most notable for Chandimal after terrorising Sri Lankan attacks in the past.

The left-handed batsman averages 78.60 against Sri Lanka, stroking two tons and a half century in three Tests.

Asked if he was surprised by Marsh being overlooked, Chandimal said: “Yes of course.

“When he’s come to Sri Lanka he has played some outstanding cricket.

“He has hit two centuries, so he is a brilliant player. It’s good for us that he is not in the squad. He is an extremely good player.

“But he will miss this series and we just want to get that advantage for us.”

The writing appeared on the wall for Marsh after his stuttering series against India which ensured he had averaged just 18 in 10 Tests over the past 12 months.

The veteran’s 38-Test career is now at a crossroads.

However, Chandimal saw a bright future for Sri Lanka as they looked to notch their first Test win in Australia with Marsh on the sidelines.

Marsh first made his presence felt against hosts Sri Lanka in 2011, striking a majestic 141 on Test debut and averaging 80 for the two-game series.

He travelled to Sri Lanka again in 2016, striking a sublime 130 in a one-Test stint.

It wasn’t enough to stop Sri Lanka sweeping Australia 3-0 to claim the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy.

With no Marsh, Chandimal is now backing Sri Lanka to win their first Test on Australian soil snapping a horror 13-match run Down Under that has included 11 losses and two draws.

No Asian team has beaten Australia in a Brisbane Test in 13 attempts.

Sri Lanka are looking to bounce back from an ordinary recent run which has included a 3-0 home Test series loss to England and emerging win-less in six games across all three formats on their recent tour of New Zealand.

“On my debut (in 2011), we won our first-ever Test match in South Africa,” Chandimal said.

“It is one of my dreams to win a Test match in Australia.

“This is a good opportunity to create history.”

AUSTRALIA: Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon.


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