Cowan plays down pitch fears
Australia opener Ed Cowan expects the Blundstone Arena wicket to provide a favourable batting surface in the first Test against Sri Lanka.
There have been concerns the pitch in Hobart, which twice this season has claimed Sheffield Shield teams for fewer than 100 runs, could be too bowler-friendly when the Test gets underway on Friday.
Tasmania were dismissed for 95 in November, while Western Australia were skittled out for just 67 in a four-day clash there later in the same month.
But Cowan said the wicket, which he believes he has "conquered" during his time with Tasmania, would suit his patient style at the top of the order.
"I think it'll be a pretty good batting wicket, having just had a look at it," the left-hander said.
"The Shield wickets over the last couple of years have been good to bat on if you're willing to bat time and that suits my game.
"It feels like a wicket that I've conquered probably over the last couple of years in bowler-friendly conditions."
Cowan made six and 26 against South Australia in his only Shield game at the ground this season.
The 30-year-old believes the wicket has generally been better to bat on as games go on, but said it looked in good shape.
"We're used to playing on pretty juicy wickets, but having seen the wicket out there at the moment it looks in pretty good nick," Cowan said.
"I think it's been a wicket that's almost accelerated the game in reverse. There are grounds around the world and around the country that deteriorate as the game goes on. This probably gets better to bat on and history suggests that.
"To get results in Shield cricket, the games have to move forward at some stage. It's probably moved forward at the start of the game rather than the end."
Phil Hughes will make his Test return on Friday in an Australian batting line-up which will be missing the retired Ricky Ponting.
Cowan said he hoped the left-hander, who he expects to bat at number three, made the most of his recall.
"Phil is a great person to come into the team, a guy who's re-earned his spot through weight of runs and that's always great to see," Cowan said.
"We'll be behind Hughesy and I'd imagine he'll bat at three. Hopefully he can score some big runs for us moving forward."