Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Brisbane November 7, 2010

A minor boost ahead of larger challenges


"Can we start our summer now?" Michael Clarke, the stand-in captain, asked the question after Australia had ended a seven-match losing streak with an eight-wicket win over a switched-off Sri Lanka at the Gabba.

Australia's international summer usually opens in Brisbane with the first Test, but this three-game one-day series was squeezed in, with organisers hoping it would spark the Ashes summer. Instead it resulted in the home side falling to three defeats in a week in front of tiny crowds, including only 9037 for the dead rubber.

Clarke's half-century to finish off the contest and strong performances from Clint McKay and Mitchell Starc improved the local moods. McKay grabbed career-best figures of 5 for 33 and Starc impressed in his second ODI with 4 for 27 as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 115.

"It will kick-start our summer along nicely with the Ashes coming up, then the one-dayers before the World Cup," McKay said. "It's the first step in the right direction to make sure we play some good cricket all summer."

The win was Australia's first in all forms of the game since July and McKay said it was "a bit of a relief". "But with the belief we have in the group at the moment, we knew we weren't too far away," McKay said. "We had been playing good cricket at times but just hadn't come away with the win."

Starc is only 20 but showed he was one to watch and easily out-bowled Mitchell Johnson, the side's other left-arm fast man. "He hasn't stopped smiling," McKay said of Starc. "He bowled beautifully tonight and he's a great one for the future.

"There's a lot of young quicks coming through and Mitch put his hand up tonight. He bowled with good pace and had it swinging around a bit and he's going to be one to watch out for."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

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  • Cameron on November 10, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    landl47: lets put this "rise" of yours into perspective: a home win against the WI, a hard fought home Ashes win, a credible away draw with SA, away win against Bang, a home win against Bang, a home win against Pak. Doesn't look so flash when you put it in that light. England have only travelled twice & played SA & Aust once in your "rise". Most of your "rise" has been at home bullying minnows (no offence to Bang, Pak, WI) with a Duke ball in favourable conditions. Not like you've been toughing out in the sub-continent pulling off miracles. Not sure where you think this 5th ("in their last 6 test series") win is?? The next England series in the archive list is Feb-Mar '09: an away loss to the WI. Nice try landl47, but not terribly accurate.

  • William on November 9, 2010, 13:06 GMT

    @zapper22, I can't wait till Aus get thrashed by England during the ashes and the wonderful new excuses you will post on here for us to "enjoy." The series was done, but even so, SL should have taken this game seriously and I'm angry at their choice of shots and their choice of going with Dilhara Fernando over Kulasekara. Their lack of discipline at times is disgusting to watch. However, as you said previously about Australia's performance in game 2, SL too couldn't be bothered wasting their time beating a substandard aussie team when we have "more important" things (World Cup) to prepare for. We couldn't convince mcgrath, warne and gilly to come out of retirement just for this series, so I apologize to you on behalf of those who failed to convince them to play simply to enable us to beat a proper Australian side.

  • Cameron on November 9, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    landl47: you seem to know who is already bowling for Australia on the 25th. My suggestion is that there is only one lock: MJ. Who BTW bowled an encouragingly tidy 5ov spell without luck on Sunday. Mitchell Starc's selection in the AA game looks like a big indicator if others are unfit, judging on how poorly your top order went against another rangy quick on a bouncy pitch on the weekend. If he gets wickets against you at Bellerive, coupled with the fact he's a lefty, accurate, quick & generates extra bounce; he could well be a smokey for a baggy green in 16 days. Who will bowl for Australia in the 1st test will have a lot to do with fitness & form...

  • John on November 9, 2010, 0:38 GMT

    @Micher: England have won 5 and tied one of their last 6 test series, going back to May 2009. They've won their last 5 ODI series (including wins over SA in SA and over Australia) and they're the current T20 World Champions. I call that a rise; however, even if you are not convinced, let me put it another way- they have risen above Australia. If they maintain that position through the Ashes series, I'll be happy

  • Cameron on November 9, 2010, 0:03 GMT

    landl47: stats don't lie. England does not travel well, especially to Australia. You're right, there is nothing sudden about England's rise. That's because it has been & gone already. Finn was still awful in the second dig & did not bowl well at all. I listened to the whole match on the radio & all the commentators were unimpressed, notably Jonathon Agnew. Put whatever spin you like on it landl47, England will not just come here & have it there own way. You lot don't like the hard decks with properly fast men coming at you, as evidenced with Steve Magoffin on the weekend. BTW: I didn't have room in the previous post to shred your top order. Granted Strauss got a ton. KP had numerous let offs during his stays. Cook: 'nuff said. Trott: very very scratchy & uncertain (out to a part-timer in the 2nd). Bell: all Aussies know what will happen there when the acid is poured. Morgan: 6 tests & counting... Have a look over your own back fence. It isn't so pretty. Tail propped you in the 1st dig

  • Mick on November 8, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    @ landl47: England's rise? To fourth in the rankings?!?!? Look out! I'm happy to admit Aust are light years away from the force they once were but the thing giving me a healthy dose of hope for the Ashes is England remains a mediocre force. Take away their ability to bowl swing in Australia and this is at best a line ball call. If England can win their first live Ashes test in Australia in 20-odd years I'll start to be a little concerned. Until then just looking forward to a hard fought series.

  • John on November 8, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    @Vishnu- you seem preoccupied with the past. I guess that is because the present doesn't look so good. There's nothing sudden about this England side's rise, it's been steady over the last 2 years- about the same length of time Australia have been in decline. Finn bowled well in the second innings against WA; he's a young guy who is making his first trip here. He'll be fine, which is more than you can say for any of the Aussie test bowlers on their showing so far. @Meety- the lowest form of wit is better than no wit at all. I agree with you, Ponting not playing in the Australian side is good, for the Australian side. They competed better in the two games he didn't play than in the one he did. Captaincy might be one of the biggest factors in England's successful bid to retain the Ashes.

  • Dummy4 on November 8, 2010, 9:50 GMT

    Clarke is right.He wants to motivate his team.They need to get back their confidence.So he is trying to inject that into the young boys.SL beat them...yes...but that does not mean that the world is gonna end.They have to pull up their socks and perform.

  • Sajitha on November 8, 2010, 8:05 GMT

    Sri Lanka won one t20,and 2 ODI matches.Aussies won only one match but Aussie fans saying Sri Lanka got lucky to win the series.Maybe losing is a shame but refusing it is even more shame.

  • Subba on November 8, 2010, 6:41 GMT

    Getting back to Oz cricket after a while. Interesting to see that people are still talking about Australia in the cricketing zone. Yawwwn!

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