Sri Lanka win toss and elect to bat in second test

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and sent his team in to bat first in the second test against Australia in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka made one change to the lineup that lost the first test in Hobart, with seamer Nuwan Kulasekara being replaced by Dhammika Prasad.

Sri Lanka will look to their batsmen to build a big score in their first Boxing Day test in 17 years at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but may need to be wary on a drop-in pitch that traditionally gives batsmen a torrid opening morning, before settling later on.

Australia captain Michael Clarke was present at the toss and declared himself 100 percent fit to play, having been given until the last minute to recover from a hamstring strain sustained in Hobart.

"If I couldn't turn up today and perform at my best for the team, I wouldn't have been playing," Clarke, who has been in white-hot form with the bat, said in a pitch-side interview.

"The boys have got their (Christmas) presents and are ready to play."

Clarke also defended Australia's controversial rotation system that has seen 22-year-old fast bowler Mitchell Starc rested for the second test, despite being injury-free and in form after taking a five-wicket haul to help Australia secure victory in Hobart.

Starc, and the injured Ben Hilfenhaus, have been replaced by left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson and debutant paceman Jackson Bird for the Boxing Day test.

"The rotation frustrates me, it's more about player management. Looking after each individual player to get the best result for the team," he said.

"We feel we've made the right decision for this test match and for Mitchell."

Sri Lanka are bidding for their first test win in Australia in the three-match series which concludes with the third and final test in Sydney starting January 3.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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