Lankans bat on granite

Sri lanka's batsman have been batting on granite surfaces to prepare for the pace and bounce they are set to face when they play in South Africa.

Skipper Angelo Mathews has challenged his team's batsman to keep the bowlers in the game by getting runs in alien and trying conditions.

The captain feels that their pace attack can do a job in South Africa but they will need to put runs on the board to stay in the game.

Speaking ahead of the team's departure for South Africa Mathews said: "With Dushmantha Chameera coming back into the team and young Vikum Sanjaya earning his spot, we have got a fairly decent pace attack which can put them under pressure, but we need to score runs as a batting unit."

 "It's going to be our main challenge; the boys have worked extremely hard in the past few weeks.

"The pace the boys are used to, it's just the the bounce and the conditions that we need to get used to.

"We used a lot of granite stuff, especially the batters. When you use a piece of granite, the ball is coming on to you quicker. The granite is laid down on the pitch and you can throw the ball on it so that it comes on quicker.

"We've done everything possible to try and counterattack the South African fast bowlers and get used to their conditions. We have about 12 days before we play our first Test on Boxing Day. We'll try and use those days to the maximum so that we get things right."

Mathews is determined for his team to compete better away from home than they have in the past after their disappointing tour of England earlier this year.

He added: "Most of the teams do well and win at home but struggle overseas. It happens to any team but we want to try and achieve some wins overseas and turn the tables.

"I am confident that my team can do it. We got a good combination where we have five fast bowlers, two experienced spinners and a solid batting order."

Sri Lanka have started to settle on their ideal lineup after struggling to replace veteran batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra.

The skipper went on to say: "Except for one or two changes, they are pretty much a settled team for the past four-five years.

 "They have been going with the same sort of players, maximum 20. They have managed a set combination and now the results are showing. The settled combination is the one that has led to their success today.

"We are now doing the same, we talked about it a lot. The solution is not to chop and change but be patient with the players."

The first Test against South Africa gets underway in Port Elizabeth on December 26.

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