Lankan 'spin wizard' Herath tipped to bamboozle Australia on home turf
Sri Lanka spin wizard Rangara Herath might be more of a factor in the first Test match against Australia at Hobart than first thought despite the Blundstone Arena pitch proving to be a fast bowlers' paradise in recent first-class matches and in Australia's shock loss to New Zealand last year.
However, stats reveal spinners can also prosper on the pitch, which would come as welcome news for in form Herath.
In the 10 previous Tests, finger spinners have averaged 30.5 runs a wicket compared to 37.2 for the quicks.
Wrist spinners have the best figures at 27.1, but that is largely thanks to Shane Warne's 28 scalps at 22.2.
Herath, a left-arm finger-spinner, is Test cricket's leading wicket-taker for 2012 with 55 at 20.95 from only eight matches.
However, Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford played down the visitors' dependence on Herath when they arrived in Hobart yesterday afternoon.
"I think we feel the bowling unit is going to have to work together. I don't think it is about one individual," News.com.au quoted Ford, as saying.
"He's had a fantastic year and been very successful and an important part of our bowling unit but I think it is about the unit working together. We are not going to pin our strategies around one bowler," he added.
"We were hoping for a pitch that maybe had a bit more pace and bounce in it, but quite a lot of the batsmen got some good time in the middle and bowlers got some good work," he said.
Ford added: "We know we've got to do a bit of work over the next few days. The modern day international cricketer is just so busy and there is just no other way around it."