Smith apologises to traveling fans


Australia Captain, Steve Smith, has apologised to fans who traveled to Sri Lanka to witness his team being whitewashed by the hosts.

The visitors slumped from 100 for 1 to 160 all out on day five of the third Test against Sri Lanka, to hand the Asian nation their first ever series whitewash against Australia.

Australia's record in the subcontinent is remarkably poor and Smith noted this: "It's a hard one to grasp really, it's been a very tough series again, that is our third straight whitewash loss in the subcontinent,

"What we are doing isn't working. Batters aren't adapting to the conditions, spin bowlers aren't adapting to the conditions.

"I can't fault our quicks, I thought they did a great job, particularly Starc, but our batters and spinners are the ones who have to step up in these conditions and we haven't been able to do that.

"We have been outplayed in every facet of the game, our plans haven't worked as individuals or as a collective group, we haven't been able to put Sri Lanka under as much pressure as we would have liked."

Smith explained the puzzling selection of Moises Henriques who was out cheaply in both innings and bowled just two overs:  "He was picked pretty much as a batsman,

"He can obviously bowl a little bit. Mitch Marsh is the allrounder in the team.

"In these conditions, it is the spinners' job to get the majority of the wickets as the Sri Lankan spinners did, we just haven't been able to do that. The selectors are there to do the job and I back whatever they go with. We're here to do a job and in this series and we haven't been able to do that."

The tourists were only ever on top early in the first Test when they bowled Sri Lanka out for 117 but they could only build a lead of 86, a moment Smith highlighted as a missed opportunity.

The skipper continued: "That was a great opportunity for us,

"I thought we did particularly well that first day to bowl them out for 117, and then a lead of 86 in that first innings wasn't good enough. We had another chance to go really big and put the Sri Lankan batters under a bit of pressure and we weren't able to do that.

"Since then we haven't really fought our way back. It's been difficult, we've batted second in every game we've played, and you're always behind the game knowing you have to bat last in these conditions. That first innings of the series did hurt us."

Australia have spent an enormous amount of time, effort and money on trying to prepare for Asian conditions but it has been to no avail.

Smith noted: "I'd love the wickets to be as they were back in the old days when the SCG broke up and reverse swung and spun late in the game, Adelaide the same,

"It's harder with Adelaide now as a drop-in wicket to get that same surface up. Even when the wickets are turning back home they're different to the subcontinent wickets.

"They've always got a little bit more bounce than the wickets over here. It's hard to replicate anything you get in the subcontinent back home.

"We've got the spinning wicket at the NCC, I've had a bat on that and it spins, but there's probably too much bounce for what you get in the subcontinent. So it's hard to replicate what you're going to get but I'd like as much as we can to get the Shield wickets back to the old days as such."