Bruised Sri Lanka aim to comeback in one-day series
by Asher Wilson
DateLine: 10th January 2013
Australia v Sri Lanka
1st ODI 2013
Following a thorough and comprehensive dismantling of the Sri Lankans in the three-match Test series, Australia now set their sights on five one-dayers and herald an ominous start to 2013 for other cricket teams to ponder.
The Sri Lankans are bruised and broken but also find themselves back to competing in their favoured format, and will have fond memories of the triangular series they were involved in here just under a year ago. The ODI series promises to be a much closer contest and with a rather ragtag Australian squad named, the Sri Lankans will fancy their chances for an upset or two.
The retirements of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, as well as an incredibly demanding summer, has drained the Australians of resources ahead of the series. In addition to the loss of the veterens, Michael Clarke, Matthew Wade and David Warner have been rested due to the heavy cricket schedule of the past twelve months. This leaves the squad full of players looking to make an impact, but seriously short on experience. Australia T20 skipper George Bailey will lead the side in Clarke’s absence as he strives to fully recover from a hamstring strain, while Brad Haddin takes over the wicketkeeping gloves from Wade and will be looking to leave his personal problems behind and put pressure on the wicket-keeping position. Philip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, Ben Cutting and Glenn Maxwell will all have the opportunity to stake their claim on a place in the upcoming tours.
As expected, the tourists were pummeled in the Test series but will feel invigorated ahead of some limited overs competition against a weakened Australian set up. As previously stated, success here just under a year ago with a much similar squad will hold them in good stead. Sri Lanka have a very settled ODI squad but have suffered a couple setbacks in the run-in to this series. The talismanic Kumar Sangakkara will miss out carrying a hand injury from the Test series and will be replaced by Kushal Perera, a wicketkeeper-batsman who is the leading run-scorer in the Sri Lankan Premier Limited Over Tournament. Lakmal, who replaced Welegedara for the final Test in Sydney also makes the squad. Ajantha Mendis will make his comeback to the International stage in this series following a side strain in the World T20 competition. He hasn't played ODI cricket since January last year but is an integral part of this Sri Lankan side. The Australians experienced some difficulty against spin in the Test series, so Mendis may have a very important part to play.
Sri Lanka are banking on the return of slinging paceman Lasith Malinga to give them a fresh start in the one-day series. The explosive Malinga, whose unusual 'slingshot' action makes him difficult to face, was keenly missed by Sri Lanka in their three-Test mauling by the Australians as he now concentrates on the shorter forms of the game. In missing the Tests, he became one of the standout bowlers in Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars.
The MCG in Melbourne plays host to the first fixture, and is known to be a track full of pace but good to stroke-players. The last International ODI held here was between these two sides in the aforementioned triangular series, a match that Sri Lankans won by 9 runs. The tourists also took the encounter before that and will be confident of replicating the results. The weather forecast is clear at the time of writing, so a full game should ensue.
George Bailey (c), Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin, Clint McKay, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty.
Sri Lanka (probable):
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Thisara Perera, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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