Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Sydney

Series decided, but emotional finale awaits

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

January 2, 2013

Comments: 95 | Text size: A | A

Match facts


Mitchell Johnson drives down the ground, Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 2nd day, December 27, 2012
Mitchell Johnson will bat at No.7 for Australia © Getty Images
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January 3-7, SCG
Start time 1030 (2330 GMT)

Big Picture

The series is decided and the best Sri Lanka can hope for now is a competitive showing in the final Test in Sydney. They will have to do so without Kumar Sangakkara, who is comfortably Sri Lanka's best batsman of all time away from home. They will also have to do so without Chanaka Welegedara, who has been their leading wicket taker in this series. They may also need to do so without their first-choice gloveman Prasanna Jayawardene, who remains in doubt due to a hairline fracture of his thumb. And they'll probably have to do it without Nuwan Kulasekara, who missed the Melbourne Test with a rib injury. The odds are long, but Sri Lanka can take some comfort from the fact that dead rubbers such as this can throw up surprising results.

On paper, it is difficult to see Sri Lanka posing much of a threat, despite the fact that Australia have shortened their batting line-up by naming Matthew Wade at No.6 and Mitchell Johnson at No.7. Against a strong bowling attack it would be a far riskier move, but against a Sri Lankan bowling outfit missing Welegedara and Kulasekara it may be of little consequence. It also means Australia have four fast men to rotate and keep fresh during Sri Lanka's innings, along with the offspinner Nathan Lyon. By leaving out the uncapped allrounder Glenn Maxwell, the Australians have also ignored the chance to assess how Maxwell would handle the challenge of bowling in Test cricket, ahead of the tour of India in February-March.

But despite the fact the series has been decided already, there will be plenty of emotion at the SCG over the next five days. Both teams will wear black armbands in honour of the late Tony Greig, who was not only a fixture of Australian cricket commentary for 33 years but was also a much-loved figure in Sri Lanka. And the Australians will also farewell Michael Hussey, who surprisingly announced his retirement after the Melbourne Test. Hussey, the leader of Australia's team song, would love to have one last reason to sing it at the SCG.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia WWLDD
Sri Lanka LLLWD

In the spotlight

Ricky Ponting was farewelled with defeat at the WACA last month; Michael Hussey has a much better chance of ending his Test career on a high. Hussey will leave a gaping hole in the middle order over the next year and Australia's fans will enjoy seeing him in the baggy green one last time over the coming days. Hussey enters the Test with 19 Test centuries to his name and given the kind of form he has displayed this summer, it would be a brave person to bet against him reaching No.20 before he bows out. Only 11 Australians have reached that milestone.

Dinesh Chandimal is a batsman of immense talent whose opportunities at Test level have been limited by the settled nature of Sri Lanka's middle order. Now he has a chance to make his mark. Chandimal has played four Tests and scored three half-centuries and if he can perform impressively at the SCG he may force a rethink from the national selectors. There is every chance Chandimal will also be asked to keep wicket. All in all, it shapes as a big week for him.

Team news

Glenn Maxwell has been left out of Australia's line-up and instead they will use Mitchell Johnson as an allrounder at No.7. Michael Clarke has been passed fit to play, which means Usman Khawaja will be released from the squad.

Australia 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 will make at least two forced changes to their side from Melbourne, with Kumar Sangakkara out due to his hand injury and Chanaka Welegedara to miss out due to a hamstring problem. Dinesh Chandimal is expected to come in for Sangakkara, while Nuwan Pradeep is the likely inclusion for Welegedara. The Sri Lankans are also waiting on news of Prasanna Jayawardene, who suffered a hairline fracture to his thumb at the MCG. If he is ruled out, Lahiru Thirimanne would likely take his place in the line-up and Chandimal would keep wicket.

Sri Lanka (possible) 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.

Pitch and conditions

The SCG is not the spin haven it once was, as evidenced by Australia's decision to choose one four fast men and one spinner instead of two slow-bowling options. In his column on the day before the Test Clarke wrote that there was "a surprising amount of grass on the SCG pitch". The weather for most of the Test is expected to be good, although there could be occasional showers on days four and five.

Stats and trivia

  • Michael Clarke needs 87 runs to go past Don Bradman's career tally of 6996 Test runs
  • Mitchell Johnson will play his 50th Test and will become the 11th Australian fast bowler to reach the milestone
  • Michael Hussey's final Test will also be his 79th consecutive Test since his debut. The only players currently enjoying longer streaks are AB de Villiers (80), Alastair Cook (85) and Mahela Jayawardene, who in Sydney will play his 93rd consecutive Test
  • Test cricket's leading run scorer and wicket taker for 2012 will be playing in Sydney. Clarke topped the run tally with 1595 at 106.33 and Herath took the most wickets, 60 at 23.61

Quotes

"It's going to be a huge 12 months of cricket and it starts tomorrow against Sri Lanka at the SCG."
Michael Clarke

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (January 3, 2013, 5:13 GMT)

after seeing the performance of thirimanne its time to give more opportunities to youngsters

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 2, 2013, 23:17 GMT)

@ Future_of_pakistan_cricket on (January 02 2013, 15:15 PM GMT): Firstly, welcome. .. I must say that your first post is a very decent effort. .. I agree with everything you said about Dave Hussey, including the reason for his apparent lack of 1st class form this year. He is definitely an option that should be considered very seriously by our selectors. .. Good stuff mate, cheers.

Posted by Hitwicket99 on (January 2, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

A very bleak future awaits SL Cricket. Few kids from the top Colombo schools are taking up Cricket these days. This is evident in the calibre of players we produce at national level.The likes of Kumar Sangakkara; a classic product of a top private school will be a thing of the past.

SL Cricket board is possibly the most chaotic one among the ICC's members and at present acts more like a proxy of the IPL. The IPL money shields the internal chaos of SLC where thugs, politicians and racketeers jostle for supremacy and robbery.

The structure of SL Cricket too is on the decline. In their quest to get the votes of rural clubs at Cricket Board elections, far too many 3rd rate rural clubs have been included in the Division 1 league making competition a farce.

Posted by Moppa on (January 2, 2013, 22:43 GMT)

Hey guys, seeing as Front-Foot-Lunge is still trying to work out who will win the "Minnow Big Bash", do you think we should let him in on the secret: Australia has already won the series. Maybe he can't work through the logic of 2 up with 1 to play means that you have won. Logic never was his strong suit...

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 2, 2013, 22:33 GMT)

FFL- Your right is not riveting as it is so one sided. I reckon during the England tour of Sril Lanka it was riverting due to the evenness of the two sides as the results suggest. Redneck makes a decent point regarding Fergusson this year as Khawaja got to bat on Adelaide Oval as well and averaged about 20 that game, unfortunately for Fergusson he only has 3 months of decent performance, he was terrible last season and injured the one before that so I believe Khawaja is deservedly in front of Fergusson.

Posted by MrKricket on (January 2, 2013, 22:32 GMT)

I just hope that MJ lifts his game and becomes that allrounder! He does look like a real batsman when he is batting well, not just a tail-end slogger - good stance and some real batsman's strokes but of course Aus need him to bowl well. He is a confidence player so maybe if he can score runs he can achieve some control with the ball consistently. Would love him to really come good and do well in England. Aus won't live down another round of the Barmy Army song about MJ being proved correct "He bowls to the left... he bowls to the right... Mitchell Johnson your bowling is ...." well you get it.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 2, 2013, 19:31 GMT)

@R_U_4_Real_Nick, totally with at Wibblewibble with this. We certainly don't need 5 bowlers, as i've said on this site many times if you look at the 2 greatest teams of recent times. WIN in the 80s & the recent Oz team they always played 4 bowlers. Oz in particular could easily have slotted Gilly in to the top 6 but apart from a handful of occasions he always batted at 7. Oz realised that if the top order failed with AG at 7 they still had a chance to post a competitive score & time after time they would recovery from 80/90 - 4 or 5 to post 300 plus. Broad & Bres can both bat but they are not going to provide the sort of insurance an extra batsman can as they are both too inconsistent and lets face it they are picked to take wickets. 4 bowlers should always be enough if you have 5 its usually 1 too many and 1 of them won't do much bowling. We have struggled to find a decent batsman at 6 since Collingwood retired but hopefully Root can now fill the slot.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (January 2, 2013, 18:35 GMT)

Will SL win their first test in countries like Aus India before 2050?

Posted by wibblewibble on (January 2, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK: 5 bowlers is definitely not the way to go, unless one of them is a real top order bat as well (Saffers rejoice). You also do not need 5 bowlers if your bowlers are decent enough, there are only 90 overs a day to be bowled. The problem Aus have is that Mitchell is often too expensive, so they need someone to replace him and provide control, whilst keeping him for the occasional wicket burst.

OTOH, if Aus roll up for the first Ashes test with Wade at 6, Johnson at 7, I'd like to thank you in advance for letting us go 1-0 up. Cheers.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

I find it strange playing this Squad, considering it wont be anything like it in future tours.

Posted by Future_of_pakistan_cricket on (January 2, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

since 2 years i have been watching all updates of espncricinfo but this is the first time i'm commenting. David Hussey Should Replace Michael Hussey and he definitely will, guys who are saying look at his FC form he's out of form, Guys he's not out of form he had just given up hope for a call up at 35 so he didn't batted with his heart and i'm saying that because if you look at his LA and T20 form its amazing top 3 run getter in both because he knows he's gonna play that form of cricket for australia so he plays it with his heart. he will replace MH and i bet that coz australia needs experience not talent.

Posted by gnanzcupid on (January 2, 2013, 15:04 GMT)

Few lankan fans must be taught to love cricket as a game. Must be they are humiliated by the recent run of the lankan team and also the fact that india had done well against them on a consistent basis in the recent past. But the lankan fans must be prepared as their worst decades of cricket is just ahead. It feels funny to see some lankan fans with english names like @lukecannon. Will see many lankan fans popping up with english names in the near future being unable to bear the repeated failures ahead.

Posted by leave_it_to_the_umps on (January 2, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

I think this is the selectors way of giving MJ a challenge that if he can step up and bat to improve his batting that he can have watsons spot as the allrounder

It could be a good choice as MJ as the 4th seamer is pretty dangerous (and takes the pressure of him... he was always at is best bowling 1st change rather than opening) and gives a good option to play two spinners and 2 quicks with MJ as a 3rd quick on turning wickets in India

Watson be warned you may not have a place in the team if mitch can continue to score runs at a decent average (he has scored 203 runs @50.75 in his last 4 tests! 3 of which were against SA)

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 2, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

Really smart move by Australia - I wish England would do the same. 5-1-5 is the future for test cricket, because 20 wickets wins a test match and then 5 specialist batsmen should be enough to make enough runs. The wicket-keeper should also be able to bat well like Prior, Gilchrist etc. Runs made by numbers 7-11 are just a bonus in tests; if you've got a genuine all-rounder then fine, lucky you! But otherwise numbers 7-11 should be in a test team predominantly for their bowling.

Posted by mukesh_LOVE.cricket on (January 2, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

What Australian selectors should really ask themselves is who is going to be the second spinner along with lyon in the India tour. and i don't think maxwell is a their answer to a test class spinner.

Posted by jb633 on (January 2, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

@dunger.bib- I could not agree with you more. From an English point of view there seems to be uproar whenever we leave Patel or Bopara out of our national side. When we leave Taylor or Bairstow out though, funnily nobody bats an eyelid.

Posted by Herath-UK on (January 2, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Sri Lanka can take heart from the fact that NZ was shot for 45 (Aussies for 47) in Cape town where Sri Lanka last year did extremely well with a centurion in Samaraweera.All is not yet over and if they show the Lion's heart they are known to they can make something out of this game no wonder. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (January 2, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

The Sri Lankan team has got fewer options to decide the final eleven as Kulasekara,Prasanna J & Eranga are unlikely to play tomorrow. So its a matter to decide the batting order with the possible eleven to get the best possible start. I would suggest Mahela to drop own the order ( No 5 or 6 depends on the situation) as he failed to stay on the wicket when the ball is new. on the other hand Chandimal may need to bat down the order if Sri Lanka bats second as he need some rest after wicket keeping. Thirimanne could come at no 3 though he has a poor record as a top order batsmen as there is no much options left. So my batting line up for this test; 1. Dimuth 2. Dilshan 3. Thirimaanne 4. Thilan 5. Mahela 6. Maththews 7. Chandimal 8. Prasad 9. Herath 10. Lakmal 11. Pradeep

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

I think it's more of a test as to who the quicks will be that will get to go to India and then on to England rather than testing out the batsment who have proven themselves at Shield level and have the ability to play Test cricket. I can't see them leaving OMaxwell and Lyon will be the obvious choics for India but if Maxwell doesn't perform admirably with both bat and ball especially the ball, then I can see the selectors testing out the one of two up and coming young guns. I can't see them leaving out Khawaja but I can see them leaving out Watson who hasn't been getting over his recent spate of inuries before attempting his comebacks. In addition, if Hughes performs this tests, he can also pack his bags. Just my opinion.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 2, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

@Androse yes i agree with you,i think they took both Maxwell and Khawaja to strengthen the batting just in case Clarke wasn't fit. I like Maxwell but i think not playing him tmr is a good move as he is not yet ready for test cricket, he needs to get more solid runs under his belt and work more on his off spinners as he is not a test all rounder. @Redneck i am in agreement with Edward, where batsman get their runs does matter, we need batsman for the ashes who can score in tough conditions and Edward summarised that very well and remember selectors know where batsman are scoring as they watch their shield games and they know we need the likes of Khawaja who can score in tough ashes conditions. Also can i ask Who is Australia's best 3 fast bowlers? (including players who are injured e.g James Pattinson), Would Jackson Bird have done as well against South Africa or England? My best fast bowlers are Siddle, Pattinson, Cummins and Starc, what do you guys think?

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (January 2, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

@Redneck like you i was critical of Khawaja earlier in the season but I agree with Edward_A, in that where you score your runs does make a difference, do you think they will have nice flat pitches waiting for us in the ashes, they will have seamer friendly decks to help their classy fast men and that is where Khawaja comes through as he has scored on absolute green decks where the other teams struggled to match his individual scores, 140 against Tasmania when they got 90, 2 half centuries against NSW when they only got 150 and a 90 odd against South Australia on a green gabba deck on his debut for the Bulls. We need batsman like Hussey who score in difficult situations and none better then Khawaja as pointed out by Ross Hambling, MaccaMat agree and RahulAshok. I was a critic of Khawaja earlier in the season but the manner in which he as scored has won me over. Good luck to Huss tmr, a big century is coming, i can feel it.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 11:54 GMT)

@FFL: Waiting for an explanation for how Australia and Sri Lanka can both be the 'minnows' when one team is comprehensively thrashing the other? Meanwhile, in the world of sanity I agree this would be the best time to get Khawaja in the side, but I had a feeling Lyon would retain his spot since the SCG has a reputation for spin. With all the talk of other spinners (Boyce, Zampa and Maxwell all getting talk) I get the impression this is an important match for Lyon to actually perform. As for Ferguson - I hope he gets a run in the ODIs. Dan Christian is unlikely to be playing atm, after all...

Posted by redneck on (January 2, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

@Edwards_a mate yet how can furg be leading the run scoring over khawaja then? By making more runs i might suggest! Why should the fact he plays at the adelaide oval make any difference? It doesnt, its not like sa bowlers get any special consideration on the flip side of the coin!!! furg has done his apprenticeship for his spot! khawaja has many years working in shield cricket to work on his game. Hussey had to wait until 30 to get his chance, mark waugh and darren Lehman too had to do their apprenticeship and when they did arrive they took their chances with both hands!!!! This is furgs time to shine, hes put in the hard yards done all that is asked. Now the selectors have to give him his chance!!!

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 2, 2013, 11:19 GMT)

The Christmas Minnow Big Bash drags it's ungainly hulk around the park for one more outing. Who will win this Ultimate Battle of the Minnows? Riveting.

Posted by Andross on (January 2, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

@satish619chandar Hang on a minute, you can't have it both ways.

Separately, I think the problem with the selection is that they dug themselves a hole; all of the bowlers performed, and yet they had to bring Stac back, which left them with no choice but to play the four quicks... It's also possible that Maxwell was there to play with Khawaja to strengthen the batting more if Clark couldn't play... anyone agree with either of those?

Posted by Wozza-CY on (January 2, 2013, 10:34 GMT)

This seems a slightly bizarre decision. Oz are just coming off the back of a big win of an innings and a lot in which the SL batting was fragile against pace on a good pitch. It finished inside three days. Oz batting is raising the questions at the moment...not the bowling. With two tours impending to India & the UK, I would have thought this would have been the perfect opportunity to get the next batsman (Khawaja?) a shot at number six position that is due to be vacated after this test?? Anyone following that logic? The depth in our bowling has become clear from trialing many prospects over the last 12-18 mths i.e. Doherty, Copeland, Hastings etc etc. It seems the NSP has missed an opportunity to do this with the batting.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 2, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

@ShakilMim Khawaja batted 6 for Australia when he played the Sri Lanka series and did fine there, this year he has become very good against spin bowling using his feet to negate the spin. Issue with Ferguson is that he has only 1 century in the last 2 shield seasons and that only on the Adelaide oval. Khawaja on the other hand has scored all his big scores on difficult pitches, 140 against Tasmania when they got 90, 2 half centuries against NSW when they only got 150 and a 90 odd against South Australia on a green gabba deck. He is also bowling off spin and got Sangakara out in the chairman's X1 game so that works in his favor as well. @Si Baker i think the selectors will bring Khawaja in for the Indian series, he is much more deserving then Maxwell who is not yet ready for test cricket, the Indians will absolutely smash his off spinners. I am going to the game tomorrow so can't wait to see Hussey and Clarke bat and our bowling rip into their depleted batting lineup.

Posted by colombo_SL on (January 2, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

Australians are without one specialist batsman. Even though, their bowlers are batting well than our batsmen. We should consider about to break the Clarke & Hussey partnership as soon as possible & tp penetrate into Australian tail.

Posted by colombo_SL on (January 2, 2013, 10:05 GMT)

The duration of the test match is determined by the way Sri lankans negotiate with the new ball. Hpe they can show improved performance in Sydney.

Posted by colombo_SL on (January 2, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

Better to have a good first innings lead as much as possible. Expect a solid opening partnership between Dilshan & Dimuth. Best opportunity for Dimuth, Chandimal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dammika Prasad & thirimanne to show their colors. Eagerly wating to see a ton from Mahaela.

Posted by colombo_SL on (January 2, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Wish all success for Mahela & Team to finish his last test as captain in style. It is difficult task at the moment but possible.

Posted by colombo_SL on (January 2, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

I wish all success for Sri lanka team to perform well here in Sydney. This test match is quite interesting. We are going to play with lot of youngsters. It is a good opportunity to assess where they are against a good test team.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Was expecting to see Maxwell in the team. This would of been the perfect scenario for Australia to bring in a new all rounder and give him a chance.

Mike Hussey is leaving behind a massive hole at the #6 position. Khawaja is being touted as the Hussey replacement...but he's more of a #3 or #4. I hope Australia give Callum Ferguson a chance, he seems tailor made for that #6 or #7 position.

Posted by whofriggincares on (January 2, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

@ross hambling, talk about missing the point, yes he has improved no doubt BUT my point is when you are as poor as he was in his first stint it takes alot to change peoples perception. And it has kept him out of the side simple as that. As for watching more cricket well i dont want a divorce. Also I admit he has had a good year to date but "obviously the best batsmen" cmon the truth is if he was miles ahead of everyone else he would have been selected.Check the stats he doesnt stand out like a beacon. The remaining shield games before the indian tour will decide who goes and that is as it should be.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Yet another bizarre selection by CA. Given their current commitment to their bowling rotation policy, wouldn't it have been more logical to rest Siddle ahead of India & simply bring back Starc, while giving Khawaja a gentle re-introduction into Test cricket as Hussey's long-term replacement? Seems to me that the constitution of this side suggests that they still haven't decided for sure which batsmen they're taking to India & so have decided to play it by safe by not including anyone who's not an absolute certainty for that tour already.

And speaking of India: the selection of Maxwell in this squad (even though he's not playing after all) should set alarm bells ringing in the heart of every Australian fan, as it looks horribly likely that CA are seriously considering him as second spinner material. This is the kind of compromise thinking that led to England surrendering the first Test at Ahmedabad by playing Samit Patel in place of Panesar. Two words scream out: Steve O'Keefe.

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (January 2, 2013, 8:18 GMT)

Also let hope Mike Hussey gets a 200 tmr, he deserves nothing less

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (January 2, 2013, 8:16 GMT)

@whofriggincares i agree with chicagoan76 on that Khawaja deserves his chance. You obviously haven't seen a single game of his this year, under boof his fielding in slips and covers is sharp and his running between the wickets is very good, just take a minute to watch his big bash and ryobi games, perhaps then you can come up with some legitimate comments. At nearly 500 shield runs this year and following up from his 2010 shield batsman of the year he has earned his spot and desrves everything that comes his way. On a side note i think its good we gave Bird another match because he bowled well last game and deserves another home match.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (January 2, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

I think this selection shows that the oz selectors don't have a clue what the make up of the side is going to be for the tests against Ind. Surely it would have made sense to have played Usman as pretty much every Oz fan on this site thinks he should be given a run in the side batting at 6. There are also no guarantees that Watson will be fit enough to play 4 tests in 5 weeks, so you would think Aus may well need 2 more batsman once the Ind series begins and this would have been a perfect opportunity to have had a look at one of them. Perhaps they are thinking of playing Johnson as an all rounder in Ind which would allow them 2 play a second spinner. Although I think they need a 2nd spinner I don't think they can afford to sacrifice a batsman. If the selection is purely down to the fact that they thought they couldn't drop MJ after MCG then they should have just rested Siddle. I don't think they should have worried about having 2 out 3 lefties in their seam attack.

Posted by disco_bob on (January 2, 2013, 7:50 GMT)

@dsig3 Johnson always fancied himself as an allrounder and it's not the first time he's done this, the first was batting against SA at home and I think an unbeaten big ton and a 90 odd must certainly count. For my money, I love watching Johnson bat, he seems to be so economical and clean hitting, like a little automaton.

Seriously how is it going to tell anyone anything about Maxwell playing a seriously weakened and demorilised Sri Lanka at home, when we have a wounded India to play at their home coming up?

Posted by whofriggincares on (January 2, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

@chicagoan76 it is really embarrassing reading the absolute crap you are writing about backgrounds and color keeping Khawaja out of the side. Truth is he hasnt earnt a spot in the side yet. Yes he probably has the best technique out of the other batsmen in the frame. But to say he is obviously the best batsmen in the country (even assuming you mean outside the current 11) is BS. Watching him in the field in his first stint in the side was absolutely disgraceful, and his running between the wickets reminded me of underage cricket. When you are playing with seasoned pro's that sort of thing doesnt get forgotten in a hurry. he will get his chance I just hope he doesnt make all the keyboard heroes on here look like tossers.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (January 2, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

Hope Sri lankan team will do well or will have white washl ike there neighbour had last year. Main Problem of SL team is they dont have any word class batsmen who can play outside subcontinent. Mahela is poor, Dilshan just like Sehwag or Gayle (1 good innings out of 10), Sanga has calibre but have flopped mostly, Sammervera another subcontinent flat pitch batsmen. They are missing players with good technique and calibre which can play on foreign soils such Attapatu, Aarvinda, Arjuna etc. SL should show some faith in younsters like Dimuth, Denesh, Lahiru, Rajapakshe and Angelo Perera and send them to play county cricket in summer for next 2 -3 years afgter that they will be very good finish product. Do same in bowling dept too.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 2, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

@ Chicagoan76 on (January 02 2013, 05:11 AM GMT) : Man, now that you point it out, it's so obvious. You only have to look at the way they fast tracked the man he will replace in India, Mike Hussey. .. they practically took him from the cradle at 30 and he wasn't even three quarters of the way to scoring his 20 thousandth first class run. ... the imbalance is clear. .. Seriously and all sarcasm aside, there is another way to look at this. .. I think this indicates that Ussy's place is assured come the end of this Test. He was called up to shadow the actual best batsman in Oz, Michael Clarke. There was no discussion or wavering, he was called straight in. .. they wouldn't call up someone they have no faith in to replace the hottest batsman in the world imo. He WILL replace Huss in India. .. the selectors have no problem with him, it's they rest of them they are worried about. ... this is a big vote of confidence in Usman and if he should be very excited because he is just about in.

Posted by ajithabey on (January 2, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

We only hope that it will not be a repeat of SL's miserable performance at the MCG through inept and indisciplined batting for the match to be completed in 2 1/2 days.SL's senior players must curb their cowboy style of play and take a cue from Clark & the other aussie batsman on how to build match winning partnerships instead of only talking about it at media conferences.batsmen Chandimal,Paranavithana and another spinner might help at the SCG especially because the openers and middle order of SL have failed badly at the earlier matches.The relevant coaches who are on tour must also take the blame for this Poor performance especially of the batsmen as their techniques especially with good fast bowling show many chinks which should be corrected on a priority basis if these batsmen are going to survive another onslaught at the SCG.We only hope that SL will give a good performance as a farewell tribute to captain Mahela who has steered the team through many a crisis in the past.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 2, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

@Hyclass i echo your every word, Khawaja was unlucy but should get in for the Indian series. Kopalk89 the reason Ferguson is behiind in the pecking order is he has only got 1 century in the last 2 shield seasons and averages 35 in shield. Inevarity said with regards him that he needs to score more centuries to come on the radar. @redneck the reason folks are frustrated Khawaja didn't get a go was because he is standby batsman for 2 games with a number 4 batting spot opening he should have got the node especially since its a dead rubber. Chicago76 i agree wiht you mate but i think Clarke is supportive of him, I won't say the same if he doesn't get picked for the Indian series. Can't keep class out and that's what Khawaja is. Lets send Hussey off a champion and can't wait to see him bat and see us win 3-0.

Posted by old_chap on (January 2, 2013, 7:21 GMT)

from ozzie perspective it is a very good move to bring johnson up the order since Sri Lanka has the weakest bowling attack they ever had , sri lanka should play with at least two spinners rather than playing with blunt fast bowler pack to make a impact in fact to hold the match at least till fourth day..all the best Srilanka..

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (January 2, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

@Chicagoan76 does make some very good points and I am Khawaja's biggest fan but we have to keep in mind that he is standby batsman and most likely Hussey's replacement in India.@Busie1979 i also think it would have made more sense to have Usman in there instead to give him time before the Indian series given there is no shield game till Feb. @Redneck i have seen Clarke talk Khawaja up everytime he gets runs and i am sure he will be the first person to pick him given they came through the same system and school.@Matvilly that's exactly the point, its a dead rubber so it would have been the best time to get someone like Khawaja in.

Posted by abhiyog on (January 2, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

Chance for Chandimal to really show where he belongs with a good performance ,Srilanka may well surprise the aussies as they have nothing to lose here Best of Luck to Lankans...........

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 2, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

@ Shaggy076 on (January 02 2013, 05:06 AM GMT): " Not sure the selectors have considered what make up to go with if Watto was injured in the Indian or English series." That's assuming he get picked. Watto has all but ruled himself out of bowling again in Tests. If that's the case, he has to be selected as a batsman only. Personally I would slot him in at 6 because he can handle the second new ball. Either that or open with him. I honestly can't see how his record to date warrants him being anywhere near 3-5. ... that's why I would have preferred to see them go with Maxwell as a spinning all-rounder to replace a quickish all-rounder. .. Sounds good to me for the Indian assignment.

Posted by Beertjie on (January 2, 2013, 6:46 GMT)

Nobody's realized that after Maxwell's selection Hussey retired. This made Maxwell's selection to appear inappropriate. All they really want is a Quiney type to help bowl a few overs if one of the bowlers break down. If I'm right David Hussey would be a good pick as an extra bat. Personally I'd take Ferguson but the NSP have been bitten so many times by bowlers breaking down (e..g., the knock on effect of overbowling Watson at Hobart) that they became paranoid. Let's just give Maxwell a rest till he gains more experience and recognize that you can never get more than a dozen overs out of Watto without him breaking down. Then if Hussey can make some runs in the SS, he can go to India and England and perform a Watson-like task at 6.

Posted by 158notout on (January 2, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

After showing a massive improvement in selection policy following the last disasterous Ashes series where it seemed players were just being picked out of a hat, the Aussie selectors seem to have regressed again. None of these selections make sense - 4 quicks at Sydney, Wade at 6, MJ at 7? The selectors seem to think that they cannot do without a Watto so will try to build on out of the spare parts of MJ and Wade. Surely the only sensible selection in this case would have been simply Watson for Khawaja? Leave everyone else as they were. Or is it just because it is a poor SL side so they think they can take it a bit easier?

Posted by Busie1979 on (January 2, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

This selection is a bit weird and a bit of a cop out. Selectors need to make a call on who the best pace bowlers in the country are - not pick an extra bowler on the basis that it is too hard to choose. I know Johnson had a good knock in the last test, but the tail looks a bit thin with him at number 7. It is a missed opportunity not to pick Maxwell to give him experience before India. Alternatively, with Mike Hussey about to retire, it might have been useful to give Khawaja or David Hussey a chance to settle into the team before the next series against India.

Posted by redneck on (January 2, 2013, 6:33 GMT)

@Chicagoan76 mate maybe you should just stick to following the the white sox as cricket in particular australian cricket isnt your strong suit. khawaja played clarkes first test as captian also his first full series as captain. your notion that clarkes racit and keeping khwaja out because of his background is delusional at best. the thing is i slice and dice the stats as they are what proves someones quality and khwaja comes up short to furg in everyway. fielding furgs a gun, running between wickets again furgs better, batting for the team and not their own stats again furg comes out on top and finally runs scored in the season again a win to callum so apart from suggesting khawaja should make the team purily because of his background how about an actual cricket reason!!!?

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

Watson out of yet another test due to injury. I'm a big fan, he's a great player but the fact is he needs to loose more weight or this injuries will continue to plague his career. The current line-up for the 3rd test should finish off a depleted SL 3-0 but if we have guys breaking down in India we could pay the penalty. However, my old Grannie and her friends could probably beat India anywhere at the moment, and the real acid test will be against the Poms. I agree with some of the comments here, it would have been good to see Khawaja play the "dead rubber" in Sydney and he should be the long-term replacement for Mike Hussey.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

People seem to quickly Mitchell Johnson winning the ICC cricketer of the year award in 2009! Sure that was a couple of years ago now but it's proof that he can be a valuable player with both bat and ball. In that period he played 17 tests took 80 wickets and also scored 632 runs. Sure he can be a frustration player at times but if he can produce performances like that more regularly it will only make Australia a stronger side.

Posted by PFEL on (January 2, 2013, 5:51 GMT)

NB: Australia have just as many, if not more, frontline injuries than Sri Lanka at this point in time. Watson, Hilfenhaus, Pattinson, Cummins, Harris etc

Posted by handyandy on (January 2, 2013, 5:44 GMT)

Australia have some very good lower order batsman. Perhaps having several bowling all - rounders might be the way to go for Australia at this time.Johnson, Starc, Siddle and Pattinson ... when fit could give Australia good runs in the lower half of the batting order and a four prong fast bowling attack and you would still have room for a spinner.

Posted by HowdyRowdy on (January 2, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

Clearly a team selected for a specific match at the SCG after the series has been decided. Most unlikely that we will see this team balance maintained against India and England.

While Wade is not a long term six, I reckon he bats better with more responsibility forcing him to put his head down and save the expansive shots until he is set. I look forward to seeing how he responds to the chalenge.

While the short term logic behind the selection is understandable, I reckon that a real opportunity to see how Maxwell would perform in Test cricket has been missed - we could have seen whether he really does look like the second spinner for India.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 5:20 GMT)

aussies should hve tried maxwell and khawaja...at least give him some real practice before india tour....and btw whers ben cutting?

Posted by Chicagoan76 on (January 2, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

Khawaja is simply the best batsman in Australia at the moment. You can slice and dice it anyway and if you know anything about cricket its evident that Khawaja is the best batsman in Australia at the moment. But he was born a wrong background. Stats do not define a batsman, quality does. Heck Khawaja should have been the next vice captain to Clarke. Its a shame that the Aussie society is so marred in background-ism. If he changes his name and color, he gets selected tomorrow.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 2, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

I can see there is confusion with there selections for this test, I believe they havent made up there mind who is there best bowlers going forward so they are giving all four a chance. They know Khawaja is playing in India. I think going forward the make up will change and dont believe after this game Johnson will be considered to bat 7 or Wade at 6 and that JOhnson will only play if one of the four best bowlers. Not sure the selectors have considered what make up to go with if Watto was injured in the Indian or English series.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (January 2, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

I agree that Callum Ferguson has got a raw deal from the selectors. As has been rightly pointed out he has scored more runs than Khawaja this season and is well suited to the number 6 position. Why is he never mentioned in selection discussions?

Posted by Humdingers on (January 2, 2013, 4:58 GMT)

Missing a trick here by not taking a punt on Maxwell for the Test against India. India is at an all time low and should not be a threat. The bigger picture is the Ashes and back to back features against England. Sri Lanka is done and dusted and the game should be all over in 2 days. Trying out a few new faces would have been better.

Posted by Jeyan_Sinthu on (January 2, 2013, 4:58 GMT)

Hopefully in the new year we all Sri Lankans expect a fresh start from the team. Hopefully the Sydney test vl be our Maiden win in Aussie soil. Go on Lions....!!

Posted by elle119 on (January 2, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

@Drakester, I think another way to look at this odd-ish selection decision would be perhaps the selectors want to further assess the consistency of Jackson Bird as a bowler (and also give him more experience) and how Wade as a batsman stands up to the increased pressure of a specialist batting position. This is as opposed to wanting to groom Johnson for an all-rounders no.7 position (which we've seen doesn't really work) or wanting to seriously trial a 5 bowler line-up which is silly. Keeping Jackson Bird on board may not be the worst thing given the apparent frailties in our bowlers of late, particularly if some of the "incumbents" struggle for form after a long injury layoff. I would have thought however, a rest for Siddle would be more productive since he is the "known" quantity in the attack. I agree with others though abt Khawaja. Would have played him at 4 or 6 over another bowler -but of course this is all conjecture as no one pretends to really understand how a selector thinks.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 2, 2013, 4:42 GMT)

@ Shaggy076: I agree. I'll probably get shot for saying it, but the outrage is motivated by one thing only. I'm not going to spell it out, but suffice it to say that if his name was Higginbottom or Drinkwater or some such, none of the aggrieved would give a rats you know what about it. .... having said that, I can't follow the reasoning behind the selections for this game. If Maxwell is earmarked to replace Watson as the all-rounder, why would they not throw him in here to see if he shows some signs of being up to it. .. crazy thinking as far as I can see. .. I also can't see how they can consider Wade as a no. 6 either. If he is one of the top 6 batsmen in Aust. then we are in a hell of lot of trouble. ... finally, why do they think they need 4 quicks plus a specialist spinner? Surely they aren't going to go in with configuration in India. ... I can't stop shaking my head about all this. .. there is only one player from the last Test ruled out, Watson. .. Why not just replace him?

Posted by redneck on (January 2, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

i am sick and tiered of khawaja this and khawaja that!!! the bloke has made only 1 ton in the shield this year. callum fergeson has scorred more runs from the same amount of matches as khawaja this season but has not been mentioned by anyone as a possible replacement for hussey!!!!! why???? an unfortunate injury cost him his spot in the ODI team in 09 and he has consistently performed in the shield for years!!! khawaja got given a baggygreen and did nothing with it. hell he's already been given as much of a chance as brad hodge ever got only far less deserving. furg is a like for like replacement for hussey, he bats well with the tail and turnes the strike over. why does the spot automaticlly go to khawaja?????

Posted by Chicagoan76 on (January 2, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

Anyone who says its a good idea to see if Mitch can bat, instead of phasing Khawaja into the team has NO idea about test cricket. Aussie selection is a joke. Pathetic.

Posted by landl47 on (January 2, 2013, 4:21 GMT)

I don't see where the Aus selectors are going with this side, unless they are simply picking the side they think is most likely to win this match. That's fair enough usually, but in a dead rubber game surely the opportunity is there to give players on the fringe of the team more experience? This isn't the make-up of a side to play in India or England- a #7 who averages 22 in 49 tests isn't going to cut it,

However, Bird deserves another game, Johnson deserves another game, Starc was promised another game and Siddle is the leader of the attack, so maybe the selectors felt they had no choice. As Shaggy076 points out, after this game Hussey is gone and Aus really has to play Khawaja.

I can't see SL winning this test unless Aus goes to sleep, but stranger things have happened, especially in dead rubber games.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (January 2, 2013, 4:16 GMT)

Shaggy076 is spot on, Khawaja should get Hussey's spot in India, i think the frustration around his selection is that he was the standby so for Watson's injury he should have come in given this is a dead rubber. Webba84 I think we all know that for the ashes Johnson won't do at number 7, i can see why people would think Khawaja should get a chance now so he can get settled in the ashes, but he will get more then enough opportunity in India. Johnson can smash the ball with those tree-trunk arms bu the idea of him finding enough consistent batting form to play as an all-rounder against a quality bowling opposition is ludicrous. Even in South Africa ages ago, when he got his century, he was facing an out-of-form Steyn and Morkel (although that really was a great innings, no question), and I doubt that even Johnson would look too much into that performance. Still, he's a better choice than Maxwell right now on a green-top pitch.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 4:13 GMT)

@ Maxim Payne. I agree that the pitches this year have been roads and Perth wasn't as bouncy as it could have been. But Shane Warne didn't need a rank turner to be successful. He changed the rules for a spinners' pitch since he could get turn on a glacier. 20 years ago, the beauty of Australian pitches was that every pitch in Australia was different. Now with drop-in pitches, they are all the same.

Posted by Rowayton on (January 2, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

I think it's a shame Sydney's not a spinner's wicket anymore too, but preparing pitches to combat Herath, Maxim Payne? You have to be joking - most Australian groundsmen would never have heard of Herath. And by the way, in three Ashes Tests in Sydney in his career Warne took a grand total of five wickets at about 68 each. If they were doctoring pitches for him they didn't do a very good job of it. The reason the pitches against South Africa were flat was the time of the year. Anybody who has played cricket in Australia knows that the pitches are easier in the first couple of months of the season - the question is, why do we play so many Tests in early November?

Posted by Sugath on (January 2, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

It is going to be tough 12 months for Australia and as I see the the first step will probably go wrong meaning lankans will win in Sydney. that means it will be downhill and a superman effort will be needed to resurrect the situation in 2013

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

poor uzzie, needs to learn something from hughes to deserve a soft landing like him :). the selectors have clearly got a bias against the poor bloke, and stole the last opportunity for him to get some confidence before going overseas to two of the toughest tours any aussie team gets. But pehaps this is part of the plan, throw in uzzie in India, he fails and selectors get a reason to axe him. while hughes solders on, based on his SL performance :)

Posted by Webba84 on (January 2, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Amusing how people think Khawaja is being discriminated against. Talk about projection. Hes clearly in line to take Husseys place after this test, looking forward to people like Chicagoan76 choking on their words when that happens. In the meantime this is a good experiment to see if Johnson deserves a place in the team as a batsman. If he isnt he can always be moved out of the team against stronger opponents.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

I like it. After Hussey retires, put Khawaja in and that is a TEAM. Less batsmen puts the onus on the the top 3 to improve.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

I don't understand why they bothered to include Maxwell in the thirteen if they simply replaced Watson with Starc (using Johnson in the all-rounder role). This side is unbalanced since it is a batsman light - good job they are facing a pop gun attack. Since Mike Hussey is retiring, I would have thought this would be a perfect opportunity to include Khawaja in preparation for the series against India and England.

Instead we are playing five bowlers against a team that crumbled for a hundred in the last test? Why? What does it gain the team? Does anyone think that four bowlers can't take 20 Sri Lankan wickets? Does anyone think we are going to play five batsmen against India or England?

Posted by wix99 on (January 2, 2013, 3:48 GMT)

It was a bad decision by selectors to leave out Maxwell. He should have been given the chance to make his Test debut in familiar conditions in Australia. Instead he may be thrown in to the deep end against India in India. Also if Maxwell is selected for the ODIs then he won't play a first class game until the tour of India. I thought the Argus review was supposed to improve the performance of the selectors. They are still repeating mistakes.

It is disappointing that Khawaja didn't get a chance. However, he has already played a few Tests and should be ready when he gets another chance.

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 2, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

I want our seniors to step up and cover the absence of sanga. That will be a big bonus for our team. It will be wise to play with 3 seamera + herath. since sydney wickets no longer help spinners any more. I will be quite happy to see a draw in this game.

Posted by RoJayao on (January 2, 2013, 3:39 GMT)

Maybe I'm wrong but isn't Australia's most pressing need to find new batsmen and a second spinner? Soooo rather than decide, for the Sydney pitch, which fast bowler to leave out, they decide not to decide and play them all??! And as a result don't play a new batsman and leave out the second spinner? Right before a tour of India? With Johnson to bat at 7?? OMG worst selection of the summer and this selection panels career!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 2, 2013, 3:31 GMT)

I think its pretty obvious Khawaja has got Hussey's spot in India. The watson spot they would like an all-rounder to prevent bowler overload. All you Khawaja fans you only have to wait one more test. Then everyone can get over the so called mistreatment of a player averaging under 40 in shield cricket this year. By the way I think he will do fine when he comes in but the outrage over his non-selection baffles me.

Posted by Rowayton on (January 2, 2013, 3:19 GMT)

Re the weather forecast - after Melbourne, and with SL missing Sanga, I don't think I'd be too worried about the showers on Days 4 and 5.

Posted by   on (January 2, 2013, 3:18 GMT)

A real shame that Sydney is not turning much any more. The Aussies are no better than the Indians in terms of pitch preparation. We produce flat tracks all 3 tests against SA to blunt their attack and then hard non-turning wickets against SL to combat Herath. It's sad to see, because if Warne was playing then Sydney would be a square turner I'm sure

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 2, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

Moppa most people knew Maxwell shouldn't play and common sense wins. @Chicagoan76 very dissapointed to see Khawaja being left out again but i think Khawaja has to keep in mind that he is the next batsman in waiting and for the Indian series it won't be good enough having Johnson at 7 and that's when Khawaja will be needed. Lets send Mike Hussey out on a winning note and hopefully he gets a big 100 to finish off a great career.

Posted by Sageleaf on (January 2, 2013, 2:47 GMT)

Sure it's going to be 12 months of cricket for Australia and Michael Clarke's boys but do not count the Sri Lankan team as they are going through twist and turns right now with not having genuine fast bowlers and issues with their cricket board. Australia will be judge after the Indian tour and the Ashes. Aussies do not have a winning team. Only Michael Clark is exceptional to the side. Because they beat SL in two tests and might win the Sydney test does not count their greatness in cricket. Every team is great playing on their home turf and Australia is the same. Just look what happened to England. They were so good and got to the # 1 ranking because they were playing in England, so is Australia. But South Africa showed their mental toughness by beating the Aussies in Australia. I think Australia, England and South Africa should play in a neutral venue to decide who the # 1 test team in the World is, and this only my opinion.

Posted by FazleAbed on (January 2, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

I always believe that if players like smith, maxwell and white playing in Australia's test team it means Australia is in serious crisis, but i must say it is a bad move. Bad not for picking maxwell rather not for picking usman. 5 bowlers combination is also shows a defensive move. It shows they have doubt over siddle fitness. Australia always should stick with specialist. Usman should be given opportunity to make a mark. he can be number 4 for Australia.

Posted by Chicagoan76 on (January 2, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

Hahaha....what a joke. I told you Clarke will go to any length to keep Usman out and I was right. Its a dead rubber. If anything they should have given young Khawaja this exposure to get back into the groove of things for the Indian and English challenges later in the year. But no siree, Khawaja gets sidelined. Khawaja could get an average higher than Don himself and Clarke would say, I think he needs to work on his kite-flying skills mate. Rubbish and hope the Aussies get beat like they deserve.

Posted by apar151 on (January 2, 2013, 2:29 GMT)

the fact that they didnt try khwaja is kind of sad. I would have loved to see him play against the lankans on this pitch he has shown he can play spin fairly well but just needs more playing time...hopefully he is included in the playing XI for india.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (January 2, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

I think the selectors have picked a good team for this game. Based on what I've seen so far Wade probably isn't a test quality number 6, but I'm hoping he will rise to the occassion and prove me wrong. Johnson should have no problems at number 7, especially after his faultless innings last week. It will be good to see Bird get another chance to take wickets, I think he is the real deal and will be a great asset against England.

Posted by Moppa on (January 2, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

Kudos to the selectors for seeing sense and not playing Maxwell. Hopefully they realise he would be useless in India - in Holland's absence, either Beer or O'Keefe need to go to India as the back up spinner. Whilst I think Khawaja is unlucky and the Johnson at #7 experiment has only limited legs and would be exposed badly in England, it is probably the best option for this Test. It allows Johnson to deservedly retain his spot after his MCG demolition, Starc to deservedly regain his spot, Bird to get another chance, Siddle to remain in the groove, and Lyon also to maintain continuity in the team and confidence. @HycIass, I disagree that Lyon should be rested/dropped - he's a critical player for India and any hint of a lack of support from selectors would be poorly timed. Further, no matter how green the pitch is, we'll need a spinner - remember The Oval 2009? Looking forward, we should not play Starc and Johnson together as part of a three man pace battery - too expensive!

Posted by Jimmyrob83 on (January 2, 2013, 2:20 GMT)

Now that Maxwell has been left out I might go and watch paint dry. Would be more exciting than watching this current Australian team.

Posted by dsig3 on (January 2, 2013, 2:12 GMT)

Seems like Johnson has become an allrounder overnight. I dont care how many runs Mitch got in Melbourne, If he was facing any other attack in world cricket it might count but runs against SL are virtually worthless. The NSP are essentially playing 5 bowlers because we think the SL bowling is rubbish. This SL side is the worst touring side since Zimbabwe visited and Hayden nearly made 400.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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