Australia v Sri Lanka 2010-11 October 26, 2010

Ponting, Watson and Johnson return to action

Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson will be back on duty next week after being picked for the three-match one-day series against Sri Lanka. The trio was rested from the India limited-overs trip and the return of Ponting and Watson means Callum Ferguson and David Warner, who didn't play in the rain-interrupted campaign, miss out.

The surprise inclusion is Xavier Doherty, the left-arm spinner from Tasmania, who comes in following a string of mesmerising displays. He will play in the first game of the series in Melbourne on November 3 and has a chance to impress for a spot at next year's World Cup.

A thoughtful slow bowler, Doherty has even taken the new ball for his state and his tight line makes it difficult for batsmen to attack. He has 103 List A wickets in 85 matches at an average of 28.91.

"His interstate one-day performances saw him make the Australia A side this year and he has again started this season impressively," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "A left-arm finger spinner could be important during the World Cup campaign and we are confident Xavier will perform very well if the opportunity presents itself."

Doherty's selection puts some more pressure on Nathan Hauritz because Steve Smith, the legspinner, is also in the 15-man outfit. Hauritz will miss the opening ODI to play in New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against Queensland starting on Sunday.

"This is seen as the best preparation for Nathan ahead of a very busy summer," Hilditch said. Hauritz had a disappointing Test tour of India, but had regained significant drift and turn by the end of the trip.

Peter Siddle will continue his comeback from a back stress fracture in the ODIs as part of an inexperienced bowling attack. Johnson is the leader and will also have Mitchell Starc, John Hastings and Clint McKay as support.

"We have several key fast bowlers out of the side at present with injury, but this does create a great opportunity for several of our young fast bowlers," Hilditch said. Doug Bollinger will remain on the sidelines with a stomach injury picked up in India while Ryan Harris continues to battle a knee problem.

Brett Lee remains on the outer following elbow surgery, despite insisting he is ready after a handful of grade and state matches. "It's not something that he's particularly happy with, he thinks he's ready to go," Hilditch said in Adelaide. "But we still feel after a very long period off with injury, and then to come back on pretty limited preparation to what is really three one-day internationals in six days, I think it is just a bit too much at this stage."

Australia squad Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Cameron White, Brad Haddin (wk), Steve Smith, John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Peter Siddle, Xavier Doherty, Mitchell Starc.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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