The Islanders will play against the hosts Australia and already visiting Indian side in Commonwealth Bank Series 2011-12 One Day Internationals.
The Lankan Lions were the runner ups in the ICC Cricket World Cup, 2011, and the hosts India flew away with the premier title by defeating them with a margin of six wickets in the Final at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, on April 2, 2011.
The Sri Lankans have just concluded the full tour of South on a high note by winning the second Test at Durban by 208 runs on December 29, 2011, though the Test series was lost 1-2.
The Proteas won the first three ODIs but the visitors came back strongly by winning the fourth match by five wickets at Kimberley, on January 20, 2012. The winning spree was continued by winning the fifth and final ODI at Johannesburg by two wickets on January 22, 2012. Both the matches were won by chasing mammoth totals of not less than 300 runs.
Marsh admired the Sri Lankan team keeping in view their performance in the World Cup 2011 and the recent visit to South Africa by commenting, “They’re a very good side. They were World Cup runners-up six months ago. They’ve toured South Africa. You only have to talk to the Australian players about how tough it is to win over there and these boys managed to win a Test match and won the last two one-dayers chasing 300 on both occasions.”
Sri Lanka beat Australia in both Twenty20 matches with a reasonable margin when they visited the Islands in August/September, 2011. The Kangaroos bounced back by clinching the five ODIs 3-2, followed by winning the three Test series 1-0 but the home team gave a real fight to the tourists.
The Indians have suffered a white wash in the Test series 0-4 and also lost the first T20 match. They have found it hard to get them acquainted to the bouncy tracks in Australia and were unable to cope with the lethal pace attack of the hosts.
The Sri Lankan team was accustomed with the fast and bouncy pitches in South Africa and will find no difficulty to adjust them with the same tracks in Australia. Marsh was convinced that his team will fight hard in the tri-series as they were not coming from home direct to Australia.
He said, “I think one thing these guys have done over the last couple of months is play a lot of cricket in South Africa. It’s not like coming from Sri Lanka into Australia, where you come from slow, turning wickets on to Australia’s pacier wickets. I think they’re more acclimatised to it.”
The upcoming series has been named as ‘Commonwealth Bank Series’ and the first match will be played between Australia and India on February 5, 2012, at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Sri Lanka will play their first match against India on February 8, 2012, at Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth, Marsh is hopeful of the positive results from his team.