Thilan Samaraweera
Thilan Samaraweera

The series may already be decided but the opportunity to win an historic first Test on Australian soil will drive Sri Lanka in this week's New Year's Test at the SCG.

The Sri Lankans have never won a Test match in Australia from 12 attempts, with 10 of those ending in defeats.

It is a horror record which stretches right 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.

The injury-hit Sri Lankans are low on confidence and troops but experienced batsman Thilan Samaraweera said they would go all-out for victory when the final Test starts in Sydney on Thursday.

"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 on Monday.

"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 in serious doubt.

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 night 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 of the veteran batsman.

"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.

"We will do 100 percent (to win) for Mahela."

Meanwhile, both Australia and Sri Lanka will use the Sydney Test to celebrate the life of the late Tony Greig.

Both teams will observe a moment's silence before Thursday's opening session and will sport black armbands during the match in honour of Greig, who died aged 66 after suffering a cardiac arrest while fighting lung cancer.

"He (Greig) was a great human being and a great voice for Sri Lanka," Samaraweera said.


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