Australia vs Sri Lanka: Justin Langer had ‘sleepless nights’ prior to Gabba Test

Australia vs Sri Lanka: Justin Langer had ‘sleepless nights’ prior to Gabba Test

"We decided and it was controversial."

Justin Langer
Justin Langer. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Australian cricket has strained to find its feet ever since the ball tampering scandal in South Africa last year. They haven’t won a single series in the last one year. The Aussies returned winless from the three series against India. However, they somewhat managed to turn their fortunes around as they defeated Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in the opening Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Nevertheless, prior to the match, Australian cricket’s head coach Justin Langer, who was appointed after Darren Lehmann stepped down, wasn’t able to sleep properly and had sleepless nights as he feared the hosts losing the first match against the Lankans.

“I kept thinking before the game, imagine if we get beaten by Sri Lanka at the Gabba. That’s why I haven’t slept much the past week. Hopefully, I’ll sleep a bit easier tonight,” Langer was quoted as saying in Cricket Next.

Words of praises for Patterson

He also faced selection issues ahead of the encounter. Langer also pondered about how he could give Kurtis Patterson a debut ahead of Will Pucovski. Patterson was excellent in the warm-up match, representing Cricket Australia XI where he scored centuries in both the innings. The 25-year-old Patterson didn’t disappoint and he scored 30 runs from 82 balls in the only inning he batted.

“We decided and it was controversial. To see how it would be received from the public picking someone from outside the (squad), spoke to a few people I trusted about it and we just felt it was a really common sense thing to do.

You agonise more probably at this point of the season about what’s going to get reported on, if I’m completely frank. Hopefully, I’ll get tougher over the years that way and won’t think about that,” the 48-year-old remarked.

“He got 100 in both innings against Sri Lanka and you talk about rewarding performance. So when it came down to that, although we’d selected the squad before, I was really glad we had the courage to have that flexibility and bring someone in from outside that original squad,” he added.

The second and final Test is scheduled to get underway on Friday, February 1 at the Manuka Oval in Canberra and the hosts would be desperate to at least not lose the game and therefore win their maiden series since the shambolic incident in Cape Town.

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