sport

Samaraweera on a mission

Thilan Samaraweera insists Sri Lanka are still determined to win their first Test on Australian soil in this week's New Year's Test in Sydney.

The tourists, who are 2-0 down in the three-match series, have not won in 12 Tests in Australia, with 10 of those ending in defeats.

The record stretches back to 1988 and looks like continuing for at least another four years considering the ease of Australia's innings-and-201-run victory in Melbourne last week.

But the experienced Samaraweera claims the injury-hit Sri Lankans want to defy the odds and end on a high.

"It was really hard to digest that defeat (in two-and-a-half days at the MCG), but that's in the past now," Samaraweera told reporters.

"The good thing is this team have the belief they can make history by winning one Test in Australia.

"That is the kind of attitude we have going into the New Year's Test.

"We have nothing to lose. We're 2-0 down, but these 16 players and 10 in the management team want to go out by winning this Test."

The Sri Lankans will definitely be without star batsman Kumar Sangakkara (finger) and paceman Chanaka Welagedera (hamstring) for the clash, while two other players are doubts.

Wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene (thumb) and fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara (rib) will need to pass fitness Tests on Wednesday, with Samaraweera labelling the pair "50-50" to play.

Young batsman Lahiru Thirimanne will join the squad on Monday, with fast bowler Suranga Lakmal to follow on Tuesday after visa issues delayed his arrival.

The match will be Mahela Jayawardene's last as Sri Lanka skipper, with all-rounder Angelo Matthews to take over the role immediately.

"This is the right time for Mahela to step down," Samaraweera said.

"We have to move on for the future.

"It gives Angelo a chance to captain, while three or four senior players are still playing and will help with the pressure."