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Australia set to kick start preparation of the Sri Lankan tour early

A group of Australia's Test players will head for the subcontinent early for an intense week of preparations in India before the Sri Lanka tour.

Four of Australia's Test players will fine-tune their skills during a week-long stint at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai ahead of next month's tour of Sri Lanka.

Opening batsman Joe Burns, left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe, paceman Jackson Bird and wicketkeeper Peter Nevill head to India on July 2 to prepare in the heat of the subcontinent summer and conditions set to mimic those Australia's 15-man Test squad are set to encounter.

The quartet will be accompanied by eight members of the National Performance Squad.

Former legendary Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath heads up the MRF Pace Foundation, and will be present as Australia's current and future crop of Test cricketers hit the nets before a two-day match to conclude the week.

While Bird (county cricket) and Nevill (World T20) have played some competitive cricket since Australia's last Test assignment in New Zealand in February, the trip to the south east coast of India will be the first action Burns and O'Keefe will see since the end of the Sheffield Shield season in March.

Joe Burns was pretty excited about it and was stated as saying - 


Going to Chennai, I get the chance to step up playing a lot of spin. We've got quite a big build up in Sri Lanka as well so I knew in the back of my mind there was always going to be a few weeks to concentrate on spin bowling in spinning conditions.




However, Sri Lanka will be a completely new challenge for the right-hander who has gone no further abroad in the Baggy Green than across the Tasman Sea for the two Tests against the Black Caps four months ago.

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