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Sri Lanka to get more time with pink ball than Australia ahead of day-night Test

Related Story: As Australia ponders its crucial next move, a toast to victorious India

Day-night dynamos Sri Lanka will enjoy more pink-ball practice than Australia before the series-opening clash under lights at the Gabba.

Key points:

  • Australia's request for a day-night Test against India was rejected, meaning players have had no preparation for Brisbane Test
  • Sri Lanka's tour match in Hobart will see them enter Gabba day-night Test with some pink-ball overs in the bag
  • Australia faces Sri Lanka in two-match series starting January 24 in Brisbane, before day-time Canberra Test

Scheduling has been a source of frustration for Australian players in recent years, including the domestic one-day competition effectively becoming a pre-season tournament plus the Sheffield Shield's mid-season hiatus.

The latest by-product of a convoluted calendar will give Sri Lanka, the only side apart from Australia to have won every day-night Test its contested, a better chance to get reacquainted with the pink pill than its hosts.

Sri Lanka wraps up its tour of New Zealand with a Twenty20 on Friday then heads to Hobart for a pink-ball tour game that starts on January 17.

The two-Test series starts with a day-night clash in Brisbane on January 24, when the tourists will seek to record their first Test win in Australia.

The bulk of Australia's Test squad will either rest or take part in a three-match ODI series against India before assembling in Brisbane.

Pat Cummins celebrates his breakthrough

Tim Paine and his teammates have not played a pink-ball game, either at first-class or Test level, since defeating England under lights at Adelaide Oval in the 2017-18 Ashes.

Day-night record:

  • Australia: 4 wins from 4 (defeated New Zealand in 2015, South Africa and Pakistan in 2016, England in 2017)
  • Sri Lanka: 2 wins from 2 (defeated Pakistan in 2017, West Indies in 2018)

Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, who have both produced some of their best performances with a pink Kookaburra, should enjoy the prospect of additional seam and swing movement after struggling to trouble India on flat MCG and SCG pitches.

But the pink ball is patently different to the red and white, hence why day-night Shield rounds were scheduled in previous seasons to help players prepare for day-night Tests.

India rejected Australia's pleas for last month's Adelaide Oval Test to be a day-nighter, fearing it would not have sufficient pink-ball preparation.

Australia's Usman Khawaja drives in Adelaide against England

Steve Smith personally pushed for NSW to face Queensland under lights at the Gabba to start the 2016-17 Shield season, a request that Pat Howard accommodated.

Marnus Labuschagne made a good impression on Smith, Starc and Hazlewood in that match, scoring 85 not out.

"I went alright there … it's so long ago, we haven't played a pink ball game for a while now," Labuschagne said.

"The pink ball always adds that little bit of an element of something different.

"Especially at the Gabba, where there's a little bit more pace and bounce in the wicket. It's an exciting Test."

AAP

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