As the skipper of Australian Test team, Steve Smith had never lost a Test series and so when his team landed in Sri Lanka to play a depleted and inexperienced Sri Lankan side, everybody expected a smooth ride for the visitors. However, everybody was left baffled after the conclusion of the three-match Test series. The number one ranked team in the world was whitewashed by the number seven ranked team.
After the series, Smith said he was out of answers when it came to his team’s woes in the sub-continent. They have now endured series whitewashes in their past three campaigns in the region, losing 2-0 to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and 4-0 on their last tour of India.
Then came the One-Day International series. Desperate to seek a turnaround on the tour, the visitors won the first game comfortably to heave a sigh of relief. But the second match once again brought back the memories of the disastrous Test series as the hosts defeated Australia by 82 runs to level the series 1-1.
And Australia’s condition is set to deteriorate after news of their skipper Steve Smith leaving Sri Lanka early to focus on South Africa tour with David Warner to take over the one-day and T20 captaincy for the remainder of the tour.
Cricket Australia’s National Selector Rod Marsh said in a statement: “Steve has a large amount of cricket coming up in the next 12 months and we wanted to find a time for him to freshen up and these last five matches provide a good opportunity to do so.
“Regardless of the results of the first two matches, our plan was always for Steve to take a break and refresh ahead of the ODI Series against South Africa next month.
“This is a great leadership opportunity for David, he has really embraced his role as vice-captain and we are confident he will do a great job in Steve’s place.”
Warner has been the team’s vice-captain since former captain Michael Clarke’s retirement from the Test and one-day formats. He led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the Indian Premier League title this season and so one can expect a decent job from him as a captain.