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Warner returns as Aussies start favourite in Sri Lanka tests

FIREBRAND Australian opening batsman David Warner has overcome a broken thumb and will play in the first Test against Sri Lanka, starting Tuesday, July 26.

The Aussies are $1.90 with to take out the opener in Kandy.

Sri Lanka is a huge $11 outsider, while a draw is $2.15.

Warner has not played since sustaining a broken left index finger in the recent one day tri series against the West Indies and South Africa, but is still the $4 favourite with Hills to score the most runs in the first innings for Australia.

The usually attacking machine likes to take on the bowling from the word go, but he is preaching patience in Kandy, as the Aussies have to combat the slow, low decks of the subcontinent.

“The challenge for us is about batting long periods of time.

“You’ve got to be able to bat well into the next day and that’s the focus for us.

”If I have to bat for a day or a day-and-a-half, I go out there and I try to do that.

That’s not great news for cricket fans hoping for some fireworks. The Lankans have always relied on spin and that won’t change in this series, with flat decks devoid of grass.

Warner says fans can expect a dour battle.

“Whoever is the fittest team will probably win these games,” he said.

“You’re going to have to be prepared for some boring fields.

“Both teams are going to use that.

“Unless you’re going to blast them out of the park with the bat or your quicks somehow manage to go through them on low tracks, it is going to be a big grind.”

And that means the Aussies are set to play two spinners, with incumbent number one Nathan Lyon solidified and the in form left arm offie Steve O’Keefe putting his name up in lights with a bag of 10 in a warm up game in Colombo.

Both men are $4 second favourites to take the most wickets with, behind number one paceman Mitchell Starc at $3.50.

“I think we would probably be leaning towards two spinners the way conditions are,“ coach Darren Lehmann said.

“We know what we’re going to get with him.

O’Keefe also scored 78 not out in that match, showing he can be devastating with ball and very handy with bat.

The Aussies have singled out Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews as the man they will target with the ball and he is the key to this inexperienced batting line-up.

Mathews is among only a couple of players who stepped out for the Sri Lankans the last time Australiat toured the subcontinent in 2011.

He was almost undismissable, managing 274 runs at an average of 91.44 and is the joint favourite with to score the most runs, with Dimutha Karunaratne also at $4.25.

“It is nice to have that pressure,” Mathews said.

“For life is all about pressure.

“It is nice for people to have expectations, but when you are the captain I don’t think much about expectations.

”Expectations are always there. You need to back your instincts as a player.

“This rebuilding voyage is definitely long term.

“It would be a progressive phasing of getting the right combinations in place.

”You have two options.

“Either you run away from reality or stay and get your team back to winning ways.“

On the bowling front, the spinners are clearly the picks, with the fast bowlers set to struggle to extract pace and bounce from the deck.

Premier Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath is a very short $2.75 to take the most wickets for the home side, ahead of Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep, both at $4.50.

Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal.

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (v-c), Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Moises Henriques, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon Steve O’Keefe.

Sri Lanka vs. Australia First Test batting markets (first innings)

Sri Lanka most runs:

Dimuth Karunaratne ($4.25)

Angelo Mathews ($4.25)

Dinesh Chandimal ($4.50)

Kaushal Silva ($5)

Kusal Mendis ($5.50)

Dhananjaya de Silva ($5.50)

Roshen Silva ($7)

Kusal Perera ($8)

Dilruwan Perera ($11)

Others quoted

Odds provided by

Australia most runs:

David Warner ($4)

Usman Khawaja ($4.25)

Steve Smith ($4.25)

Joe Burns ($5)

Adam Voges ($5.50)

Shaun Marsh ($5.50)

Moises Henriques ($9)

Mitchell Marsh ($10)

Peter Nevill ($15)

Others quoted

Odds provided by

Sri Lanka vs. Australia First Test bowling markets (first innings)

Sri Lanka most wickets:

Rangana Herath ($2.75)

Suranga Lakmal ($4.50)

Nuwan Pradeep ($4.50)

Vishwa Fernando ($5)

Lakshan Sandakan ($5.50)

Asitha Fernando ($5.50)

Dilruwan Perera ($6)

Angelo Mathews ($7)

Dhananjaya de Silva ($9)

Odds provided by

Australia most wickets:

Mitchell Starc ($3.50)

Nathan Lyon ($4)

Steve O’Keefe ($4)

Josh Hazlewood ($4.50)

Jackson Bird ($4.50)

Nathan Coulter-Nile ($5)

Mitchell Marsh ($7)

Moises Henriques ($11)

Odds provided by

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