Batting paradise: Australia’s best chance to break drought
AUSTRALIA'S faltering batsmen have one last chance to end their Test century drought or suffer the ignominy of an 136-year first.
Not since 1882-83 has Australia endured a home summer (minimum three matches) without a single Test century.
The good news for Australia is that Canberra's Maunka Oval promises to be kinder to the batsmen, with curator Brad van Dam confident the pitch will encourage a five-day affair.
"They've got more chance here (of scoring a century) than anywhere," van Dam said ahead of the venue's first ever Test.
"It's one of those things you can't pinpoint the reasons for (why there has not been a century) but hopefully this pitch can be conducive to someone getting a hundred and they can bat through."
Canberra's first two days of Test cricket will go close to being the first sold out days of the Test summer with ticket sales tracking well for teh clash against Sri Lanka starting Friday.
Manuka Oval will become just the 11th Test venue in Australia this weekend, following 12 years of lobbying from Cricket ACT to host a match in the nation's capital.
The capacity of around 12,000 people will almost certainly be challenged on Saturday with the vast majority of tickets sold, while numbers were also healthy for day one and day three by late last week.
Cricket Australia is yet to sell out a day of Test cricket this summer, but the objective is naturally far easier in Canberra given the smaller ground and natural excitement over the city's biggest match.