Spinner Mitchell Swepson said yesterday that Australia’s goal is success in India next year, with the team’s recent successes in Sri Lanka and Pakistan “great preparation”.
Swepson, a leg-spinner, combined with Nathan Lyon to play a key part in the tourists’ thrashing of Sri Lanka in the opening Test last week to go 1-0 up in the two-match series.
The victory for the Pat Cummins-led side inside three days at a turning Galle pitch comes after their 1-0 Test triumph in Pakistan in March.
“For me obviously I have got one eye on India. That’s definitely a goal of mine and the goal of this group is to get a series win over there would be amazing,” Swepson told reporters.
“But there is a lot of Test cricket before then, on the conditions where the quicks might probably be preferred. For me it’s about staying ready,” Swepson said.
Australia are scheduled to tour India for four Tests in February and March 2023 in a high-profile series that could decide the two finalists of the World Test Championship.
The Aussies, who last won a Test series in India in 2004-05, remain top of the Test championship table ahead of their final Test in Galle starting Friday – and Swepson said the recent wins keep them ready for the Indian challenge.
“Just experiencing Test cricket itself was great preparation,” said Swepson, who took just two wickets in two matches on his debut tour in Pakistan but struck with five scalps in the opener in Sri Lanka.
“Pakistan was a tough tour for me personally, but if I hadn’t played those two Tests over there, I would not have had the impact I had this first Test here, so each time you go out there and play for the Baggy Green, you learn things.”
Swepson, 28, was part of a players’ group from the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Brisbane to train at the MRF academy in Chennai in India a few years ago.
He said his recent success is a culmination of years of hard work on his wrist position – bowling with a squarer seam – on slow and turning wickets.
“It’s probably the first time I have been able to implement it (bowling with a squarer seam) in an actual game (in Galle), slow turning like this,” he said yesterday.
“I have certainly done a lot of work behind the scenes on these types of wickets and that goes all the way back to 2016-17 when I was part of the India tour... to MRF,” he said.
“I love bowling with Gaz (Lyon)...it’s great having an offspinner and a legspinner working in tandem [spinning it different ways]. Again, biased opinion of mine.
“But I think it’s something we don’t see enough of in cricket.”
Meanwhile Sri Lanka spinner Praveen Jayawickrama has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the second Test against Australia, the island nation’s cricket board said yesterday.
Jayawickrama, a left-arm spinner who was not picked for the opening match which the hosts lost inside three days in Galle, is the second Sri Lankan player after Angelo Mathews to get the virus.
“The player was found to be Covid positive when he was tested (Rapid Antigen Test) this morning, as he complained of feeling unwell,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
“Jayawickrama was immediately isolated from the rest of the team members and now will remain in room isolation for five days.”
Mathews was ruled out on the third morning of the first Test and the team soon went down to Australia with touring spinner Nathan Lyon bagging nine wickets in the match.
The rest of the Sri Lankan team members have returned negative results with the hosts looking to level the series in the final match starting on Friday.
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