Lee happy to kick off tour with T20

The limited-overs series usually always build up enough hype for the Test matches, says Australia paceman ahead of today's T20 international.

Australia open their campaign in Sri Lanka with two Twenty20 internationals on Saturday and on Monday, which could set the tone for the rest of the tour.

Brett Lee, the seasoned Australian fast bowler, said he felt the Twenty20 games were the right way to start the seven-week tour, which also features five one-day internationals and three Test matches.

"I think it builds the hype," the 34 year old said. "If you were to have it towards the end after a Test series, it probably would not work as well.

"I think the way a tour should be run is that you start with the Twenty20s, then the one-dayers and then the Test matches.

"It just flows in beautifully into the longer form of the game."

Australia, once the masters of the game, will look to rebuild their battered reputation during the tour after falling to fifth place in the Test rankings, one behind Sri Lanka.

The winners of four World Cup titles, they were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the last edition played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh earlier this year.

Cameron White, Australia's Twenty20 captain, will return home after Monday since he is not part of either the one-day or Test squads that will be led by Michael Clarke.

The Twenty20 games will be played under floodlights at the Pallekele International Stadium, a new facility near Kandy and built for the World Cup.

Sri Lanka, who are led by Tillakaratne Dilshan, the hard-hitting opening batsman, will miss Muttiah Muralitharan, the now retired off-spinner, and Lasith Malinga, the sling-arm fast bowler, who is injured.

But Angelo Mathews, the all-rounder and the team's new vice-captain, was hopeful the bowling attack would look sharp even without the spearheads.

"Lasith and Murali are exceptional people and I think that while we have got talent, nobody can replace them," he said. "But there are good youngsters coming up."

Published: August 6, 2011 04:00 AM