Stars ready for Sri Lankan spin challenge

Australia vice-captain, Alex Blackwell, believes that spin will be critical on the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka as they prepare to face their much-improved hosts.

There may be an enormous difference between the two sides in the rankings but the Southern Stars will not be taking Sri Lanka lightly.

Blackwell said at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday: “They’re a much-improved side,

“We’ve seen them topple England in World Cup games and really put pressure on the higher ranking sides. We’re going to have a real challenge over there against them.”

Much like their male counterparts, Australia's women have been looking to improve the way they play spin ahead of the tour, though they will be hoping for better results.

Blackwell feels they will be ready for the challenge: “We’ve been doing that up in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, we’ve got some wonderful facilities at the National Cricket Centre – specific to practicing against spin,

“We do our best with what we’ve got, and we’ve also got some of the best spinners in the world in our team. I’m confident that we’ll go over there and be able to play their spin reasonably well and come away with a series victory.”

The Stars are welcoming back captain Meg Lanning as well as Grace Harris and Nicole Bolton.

Lanning is happy to be back and will be keen to prove her worth after some time on the sidelines.

The skipper said: “It’s coming along really well. (I’m) just sort of working up to 100 per cent fitness, but really looking forward to heading over to Sri Lanka and getting back into games again,

“It feels like it’s been a fair while – finishing (with) that disappointing game in the (T20) World Cup, so we’re looking forward to getting over there and starting the series well.

“Nicole Bolton and Grace Harris come in, so that’s very exciting for the group.

“Grace Harris is a very good X-factor for us, who provides something a little bit different which is great, and Nicole Bolton’s got a very good record in one-day cricket for Australia. (It’s) a very balanced squad, who we think will do very well over there.”