Mitch Sweepson follows in Shane Warne’s footsteps after Holland’s exclusion from Galle Test


Cummins noted the significance of the duel for the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy for the first time since the leg spinner’s death earlier this year. Sri Lanka Cricket billed the Test series as being played in tribute to Warne and Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley will be in Galle for the game.

“Two lads of our generation grew up watching who were the No. 1 bowlers in the world for a long time, the two highest wicket takers of all time in Test cricket,” Cummins said. “Seeing two legends on the trophy, [it] always makes it clear that what we do is quite special.

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Travis Head, meanwhile, looks likely to play past Glenn Maxwell after doing everything he was asked following a hamstring strain. Cummins stressed the need for Australia’s batting to be proactive in the middle order, not allowing Sri Lanka’s rotational trio to dictate terms on what forms a Galle dry surface.

“They’re essential – I think you’ve seen in the Ashes series in Australia, the way Travis played, [he] put the pressure back on the bowlers,” Cummins said. “Even Marnus in the last Test in Hobart, I know as a bowler that if a batter is fearless and knows his game and his zones, and is brave enough to face it, it can be tough.

“Whether it’s Alex [Carey] in the middle, Travis, [Cam] Greeny or Maxy, they absolutely have the license to do it their way.

Mitchell Starc is expected to ignore a finger complaint to play on the same ground where he took 11 wickets in 2016, while Steve Smith has found form after missing part of the limited overs series with a quad stump.

Sri Lanka, led by Dimuth Karunaratne, is itself seriously considering including wrist spinner Jeffery Vandersay, who has baffled several Aussie hitters in games over 50 years. As was the case six years ago, the hosts may well field just one specialist fast bowler.

A significant difference in 2022 is that Sri Lanka have a more stable and confident batting lineup, while their spin bowling offense lacks the trickery of Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera, who formed a dastardly tandem to sweep a team then led by Smith.

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