|Scorecard:||Australia v Sri Lanka|
DateLine: 2nd January 2013
Australia v Sri Lanka
3rd Test 2013
After securing the series with successive wins, Australia will eye nothing less than a whitewash when they take on Sri Lanka in the dead rubber, to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on January 3, 2013.
The home fans will be in celebratory mood as they prepare to see Michael Hussey for an uninterrupted 79th time wearing a Baggy Green cap, which will also be his farewell International match after the veteran decided to follow the retirement foot step of Ricky Ponting following the conclusion of the another home Test series.
With Michael Clarke also passed fit, the team remain all set to cement their authority and keep at bay their opponents from securing an elusive win on Australian soil. The composition has been finalized, which sees Glenn Maxwell sitting out the clash despite the general belief that handing him a debut would have held him in good stead for a tough tour of India, where the team is most likely to bank on his all-round prowess.
Shane Watson's International future is under a cloud after he revealed his ambition to be considered as a batter. His injury woes have surely put Cricket Australia's larger plans in jeopardy but the return to form for Mitchell Johnson is certainly a positive. Not only the left-armer has found his mojo with the ball, but offers a serious threat with the bat, evident from his crucial knock in the Boxing Day clash.
That has propelled the management to slot him at no.7, moving Matthew Wade one position higher in order to fill Watson's role, further allowing them to keep their fast bowlers fresh. Mitchell Starc returns to the side after sitting out the previous encounter. Nathan Lyon will be the lone spinner, with the team relying on Clarke and Warner to roll their arms over if the need arises.
The Lankans have been thoroughly outplayed in both the earlier encounters and there is little to suggest that they can overturn their fortunes. Kumar Sangakkara, arguably their best overseas batsman, is ruled out the tour, along with leading pacer Chanaka Welegedara, which has created a dense vacuum in the team.
Moreover, Test wicket-keeper, Prasanna Jayawardene, remains a serious doubt, while the team will also have to do without Nuwan Kulasekara as the fast bowler is still nursing a hairline fracture to his rib and remains 50-50 to take part. If both miss out, Dinesh Chandimal is likely to come in the lineup, and further perform the wicket-keeping duties, while Nuwan Pradeep will also get his first game on the tour.
Despite the shortcomings, the tourists will be aiming to put in an improved showing and prove their mettle as a competitive unit.
The match will be an emotional affair, with both teams wearing black armbands to honour the late Tony Greig, whose stature is well-known to Sri Lankan fans. The rest will be all about Hussey, who will be looking to cap off an astounding career with yet another commanding display with the bat.
The emotions on the Sri Lankans side will also be charged as they would want to give skipper Jayawardene a fine send-off and what better way than to win in Sydney.
The track at the SCG has always offered something to the slow bowlers but given the unusual greenery on it, and the composition of the host attack, one expects it to maintain its hardness for the best part of the match.
Australia (Playing XI): 1 Ed Cowan, 2 David Warner, 3 Phillip Hughes, 4 Michael Clarke (capt), 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Matthew Wade (wk), 7 Mitchell Johnson, 8 Peter Siddle, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Jackson Bird.
Sri Lanka (probable XI): 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Dimuth Karunaratne, 3 Dinesh Chandimal, 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Thilan Samaraweera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Prasanna Jayawardene / Lahiru Thirimanne, 8 Dhammika Prasad, 9 Rangana Herath, 10 Shaminda Eranga, 11 Nuwan Pradeep.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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