David Warner has taken to batting with one hand in the nets as the Australian opener seeks to retain his touch ahead of the opening Test against Sri Lanka.
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Warner is recovering from a broken left index finger but still opted to face Nathan Lyon and Australia’s slow bowlers in the Colombo nets using only his right arm. So good was the dynamic left-hander that he had little trouble cutting one Lyon delivery.

He will not play in Australia’s two-day warm-up clash, slated to begin on Thursday, and is in doubt for the three-day clash against the Sri Lanka Board XI, beginning Monday.

But Australian captain Steve Smith says his vice-captain will be ready come the first Test in Kandy, beginning July 26.

“He is coming along pretty well, so he is itching to get into the middle. He went out and batted at training with one hand [on Wednesday], so he is pretty keen to get back into things,” Smith said at the series launch.

“His recovery is going really well and we expect him to be fine for that first Test match.”

Warner will need to prove he can also catch and field without hindrance if he is to be passed fit to play.

While Warner waits for the injury to heal, his teammates are benefiting from having the game’s greatest wicket-taker – Muthiah Muralidaran – working with off-spinner Lyon and left-armer Steve O’Keefe.

Muralidaran will spend the series in the Australian camp plotting the demise of the nation he once led brilliantly.

Spin, obviously, will be a factor in the three-Test series, and the Australians have not handled this art particularly well on the sub-continent in the past decade. In fact, their only series win in this time in ‘Asia’ was in Sri Lanka five years ago.

“He [Murali] has obviously got a lot of experience here in Sri Lanka. He took a truckload of wickets and he is helping our spinners out so it’s great to have someone like that on board for our series to give us that insight,” Smith said.

“He has been really good around the group so far. I think he is enjoying his time with us.”

There had been agitation within the Sri Lankan camp this year when batting great Mahela Jayawardene worked with England ahead of the World Twenty20 World Cup. However, Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews said he understood why Muralidaran had taken up the role.

“Well he’s a professional and he’s into coaching now. I think helping Australia out with insight – he’s got so much experience – it will be a great help for them to get some advice,” he said.

Former Australian batsman Stuart Law, who worked as an assistant coach with Sri Lanka between 2009 and 2011, has also joined the tour as a batting specialist. Only three of Australia’s 15-man squad – Lyon, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh – have Test experience in Sri Lanka.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann said the tourists would benefit from more than a fortnight’s preparation.

“We made a choice to come a little bit earlier. Steven likes the extra time. That’s the best thing for all the guys for this tour – it’s a tough tour, as we know,” he said.

“Stuart Law has spent some time here and has some expertise. To have him and Murali to talk about the way the wickets might play in Kandy, Colombo and Galle, and how Sri Lanka play and how we should play, has been great.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.