Batting first seems to be the best course of action here, as bowling first in recent years hasn't provided a positive result.

Pitch report: Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo

Pitch report: Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo

Established: 1915

Capacity: 10,000

Floodlights: No

Ends: Tennis Courts End, South End

Home Team: Sinhalese Sports Club

Test History: 39 Tests; 18 home wins; 7 away wins; 14 draws

Last 10 Tests: 3 home wins; 1 away win; 6 draws

Last 10 tosses: 6 batted first (3 wins, 3 draws); 4 bowled first (1 loss; 3 draws)


The Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, although overhauled by the R Premadasa Stadium as Colombo’s main cricket venue, remains the headquarters of Sri Lanka Cricket - and was formerly known as Maitland Place.

The ground still features many of the original grass banks for spectators, but the giant scoreboard and sightscreens are the most striking sights around the oval.

The venue has been owned by the SSC since 1952 - and was used as an Allied air base during the Second World War. The latest addition is the large media centre that dominates one end of the ground.

Original club membership was limited to Sinhalese men, who kept traditional British customs in terms of dress, grammar and table manners - as they drank fine scotch and held ballroom dancing evenings.

Last Time Out

The most recent Test here was in August last year, when India won by 117 runs late on day five, with Sri Lanka failing to resist despite a century on the last day by skipper Angelo Mathews.

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field, a choice against the grain, and had to contend with an unbeaten Cheteshwar Pujara century. Dhammika Prasad's pace did the job for four wickets though, as India were out for 312.

That looked positively mammoth compared though, when Sri Lanka were skittled for 201. Ishant Sharma took five wickets, while Kusal Perera, star of the current series, top scored with 55.

India batted again to add 274 all out as batting became increasingly difficult. Ravi Ashwin and Rohit Sharma made half tons, as Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep again did the job with pace.

As such, Sri Lanka needed 386 to win and were already three down at stumps on day four. They resisted on day five, via Mathews' ton, but Ashwin's four wickets, combined with five for the pacemen, ended the game.

They Said

Cheteshwar Pujara: "Facing the new ball was challenging, it was an opportunity as well. My preparation was good, and my experience in International cricket has helped."

Angelo Mathews: "Disappointed, especially after winning a crucial toss and them batting in demanding conditions. Our batting flopped again. The bowlers were outstanding."

Australia's David Warner this week: "For me to come out of my crease personally it's something I don't normally do but you have to do it in these conditions. If you defend, one's got your name on it, and one's going to straighten."

Australia captain Steve Smith this week: "I think looking at the wicket it is going to be another tough one to bat on. It looks like it is going to be pretty dry again, and take a fair bit of spin, so if you can bat for a day, I dare say you will put yourself in a reasonable position."

Former Australia batsman Dean Jones on Twitter: "SSC not known for it to break up. Yes it's dry. But normally the best batting track in Sri Lanka."

Happy Hunting Ground

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews has a brilliant record here, averaging more than 90 and scoring two tons and three fifties in 10 innings.

Bowling-wise, spinner Rangana HErath is streets ahead of his team-mates, with 60 wickets in 11 Tests at an average of 28.53.

Australia last played here in 2011, a drawn Test, and of that side only spinner Nathan Lyon and batsman Shaun Marsh remain. Marsh could get a recall here, as he made 81 and 18 five years ago, while Lyon took no wickets.

Weather Forecast

All five days are forecast to have cloud cover and spots of rain, though it will be on the hot side. Here's hoping the showers are short, or at times where there's no play, as Sri Lanka look for a series whitewash.


Batting first seems to be the best course of action here, as bowling first in recent years hasn't provided a positive result. The pacemen will want to do well on the first two days, because spin will dominate after that. It's a slow, even track, and a batsman with a modicum of common sense can do well, even if it's at plodding pace. The Aussies are not the best at plodding pace, mind...