A couple of hours before David Warner faced a bouncer from off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana in the middle at the Premadasa, Usman Khawaja had to contend with a spitting doosra from Steve Smith in the nets at the back of the stadium. And both seemed quite clueless in trying to counter it. But neither of Australia’s Test openers looked too perturbed or surprised by the untowardness of what had transpired off the pitch. Or perhaps even the prospect of there being more of the same to come over the next three weeks or so.
As Warner put it at the end of the fourth ODI, Australia have come to Sri Lanka expecting “turning wickets”. It sounded more like a declaration than a statement, even if it wasn’t. He didn’t come across as someone from outside the subcontinent who’d resigned to being put on the stand with a trial of spin. If anything, Warner seemed to be relishing the challenge that is to come in Galle during the two Tests, maybe even looking forward to it.
You could sense it in his reactions too every time a ball ripped past his bat, or it jumped off the surface when the multitude of Sri Lankan spinners were in action. If he didn’t have a wide smile on his face, Warner was indulging in a chat about it with Niroshan Dickwella behind the stumps. Not to forget his made-up astonishment at Theekshana’s bouncer – or the off-break that fizzed past over his shoulder – not being signalled as “one for the over” by the umpires.