Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Malinga 'in the form of his life' - Hussey

Brydon Coverdale

January 9, 2013

Comments: 64 | Text size: A | A

David Hussey and Lasith Malinga celebrate a wicket, Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes, Big Bash League, December 15, 2012
David Hussey and Lasith Malinga won't be team-mates on Friday © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: David Hussey | Lasith Malinga
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Australia

David Hussey has described his Melbourne Stars team-mate and soon-to-be ODI opponent Lasith Malinga as "in the form of his life" and believes the ability of Australia's batsmen to handle Malinga's three variations will be critical when the one-day series begins on Friday. Malinga is the equal leading wicket taker in the Big Bash League this summer and his presence in Sri Lanka's team makes them a much more daunting outfit than they were during the Tests.

The spinners Ajantha Mendis and Akila Dananjaya, who boast hard-to-read variations, will also play important roles but it is Malinga who has the potential to really flummox the Australians. Hussey said Australia's batsmen would need to watch closely for the slower balls, bouncers and yorkers from Malinga, who collected 4 for 49 last time Sri Lanka played a one-day international at the MCG.

"They've got some of the best bowlers in the world," Hussey said. "Lasith Malinga, I was lucky enough to play with him at the Melbourne Stars and he's in the form of his life. All our batters have to really get down to business and do their homework and really try to take him out of the equation.

"Never scared [of facing him] - it's always exciting. You always want to play the best bowlers in the world. It's a great opportunity to face him. If you do well against him, it gives not only your team a lot of confidence but yourself and your game a lot of confidence as well."

"You've just got to get your plans and your focus purely on his three different balls. He's got a very fast bumper, a very good yorker which he executes every time, and his slower ball. Just get your individual plans ready to go and try to nullify his game plan. If we take him out of the game, it definitely goes a long way to winning the game."

Hussey will have a key role to play in that, as the second-most experienced member of Australia's batting group for Friday's match, behind the recalled Brad Haddin. The absence of Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, and the controversial decision not to include Michael Hussey after his announcement that he would retire from international cricket at the end of the season, has left a major experience vacuum in Australia's side.

But despite having played 64 ODIs, Hussey knows that his future in the national side may be assessed on a series-by-series basis, and at the age of 35 he is well aware that time is running out to bring his domestic form to the international arena. He is likely to fill the finishing role occupied so successfully by his brother in the past and he wants to make up for his struggles during the one-day series against Pakistan in the UAE last year.

"A few times I've played for Australia in the past, I've had a few regrets and didn't really play the way I wanted to play," Hussey said. "This time I'm just going to have a lot of fun, enjoy myself and play with no regrets and a lot of freedom. I haven't done quite as well as I wanted to do. I haven't really finished games off the way I wanted to finish games off and win games of cricket for Australia. This time, fresh mind, new opportunity and play with no regrets.

"The UAE series probably didn't go to plan. I didn't play very well at all, and then the World T20 I didn't get much of an opportunity. You come back to Australia you really want to right the wrongs and prove a few people wrong. I really have struggled the first part of the Shield season but one-day cricket I've done quite well. This is a great opportunity for me to free the mind, play with no regrets and show a few people that I can play at the level."

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

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Posted by Prabhash1985 on (January 12, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

@Robert Raiskums : With my comment (if published), your one will go unseen. Thank you very much for kind words. At least a few words saying something good about Sri Lanka by a non Sri Lankan, an Australian in particular. I personally believe that Sri Lanka didn't give up. They fought all the time. But, Australians have the strength they require in their land. I think, Sri Lankans should look into the bright spots they got. Every injury produced an opportunity for younger players to emerge. Let's look at the bright sides, and consider this to be a game rather than a war. Suppose we won. But, I personally don't want to say "Australians cannot". I don't know what wrong we did to get thrashed like this in media. Pathetic.

Posted by Meety on (January 11, 2013, 4:30 GMT)

@Edwards_A on (January 09 2013, 10:10 AM GMT) - re: Khawaja; not wanting to hang a bloke on one performance, but ".... if you don't believe his running is sharp now then watch some of his Ryobi or Big Bash games and you can see for yourself..." - well I have just watched his ODI debut,, briefly he looked good until - an error most 9 year olds wouldn't make. RUN OUT! He'll learn from it.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 10, 2013, 21:49 GMT)

@Herath-UK (post on January 09 2013, 07:51 AM GMT): So true; it's no use for tests having some of the best bowlers in the world, that are retired/refuse to play tests!

Posted by mazii on (January 10, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

matchfxrpkn... So, you are here after posting comments in Indo-Pak match as a Pakistani. As an Indian you should be proud of yourself and these tactics will only cause disgrace for your country. Look how Virat Kohli was treated by Junaid. Malinga is a good bowler and way better than many over rated Indian bowlers.

Posted by sonu77 on (January 10, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

@Parakrama Mahaarachchi: mate, MCG surface always offer greater bounce & assistance for a fast bowler than ur flat,dead Premadasa pitch.I think that's the main reason for this different outcome(samuel scenario).I remember Samuels hit this same bouncer out of the park 2,3 times in t20 final.

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 10, 2013, 3:36 GMT)

@Imsrk. If you find any bowler who can take 3 hatricks in ODIs and take 4 wickets in a row, then i will accept he is ordinary. anyways malinga is way better than indias club level fast bowlers.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (January 10, 2013, 3:28 GMT)

Young Aussie team with something to prove vs experienced Sri Lankans who are consistently one of the top 2-3 ODI teams in the world. Should be a cracking series. Come on Finchey!

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 3:17 GMT)

Hassey is wrong. Malinga is playing very much better for IPL and Big Bash than for his own country. His records have proved that. You may remember how he was attacked by Marlon Samuels in world T20 final in Sri Lanka last year when he was playing for his own country.See how he bowled at Samuels in the Big Bash to get him injured. He will play in the ODI's and T20's against Australia like the way he played T20 final last year

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 2:15 GMT)

Malinga has been on fire in the BBL. Herath made us look like amateurs on the last day at the SCG. I'm hoping for a good contest - although I suspect Finch will go nuts and paper over the cracks of our rather dismal batting lineup.

Posted by partyanimal on (January 10, 2013, 1:17 GMT)

Srilanka have to win a couple of game to get over badly defeated by Australian in the test matches, its reflecting the Srilankan players exciting comments about the one day games.but other hand Australian take it easy of one day games resting there players, may be Australian under estimate Srilankan any how my predict is Australia win 5-0 or 4-1, same time Srilanka put hard fight for sure games should be interesting, good luck both teams

Posted by Meety on (January 10, 2013, 0:12 GMT)

@Herath-UK on (January 09 2013, 07:51 AM GMT) - Sri Lanka were still playing NZ 2 weeks before the tour of Oz!

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 23:21 GMT)

@Juelz Mate, Lahiru Thirimanne along side with Chandimal gonna be our best assert. I reckon Thirimanne will be replacing Sangakkara at his retirement. He is showing colors, maturity just like Sanga use to show in the early days. He is my favorite batter in the team.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 9, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

Edward and Macca i take your point but my biggest concern out of all of this is Inverarity and Arthur's insistence that an all-rounder is a 100% necessity and that Australia must have one. That is simply not true. Warner can bowl 4-5 overs an innings, so can Clarke, so can Khawaja (as shown in the Chairman's XI match) - that is sufficient to give a frontline bowler a rest during an innings. Arthur is looking for a Kallis and currently we don't have one. If Watson is one of the best six bats in the country, then pick him. He isn't, so don't. If he is to open then have him and Warner open, Hughes at 3, Khawaja at 4 and Clarke at 5 and if Cowan is to get another chance then move Cowan at 4 and Khawaja at 6 as Khawaja can bat anywhere in the order similar to what Hussey used to do.

Posted by kc69 on (January 9, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

Well Malinga is only good for tournaments like these.When it comes to international cricket i don't think he is effective.Only time will tell until then lets see.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (January 9, 2013, 21:45 GMT)

Malinga is scared to play test. I don't know how this SL fans always praise such cricketers lot. May be due to lack of great players they always sing abt likes of Mahela and Malinga who r very ordinary

Posted by sahajb on (January 9, 2013, 21:44 GMT)

@RandyOZ, Are you watching BBL mate? All the so called australian one day team players in BBL had no clue what Malinga bowls. He will not only shake aussies up but tear them into pieces.

Posted by PantheraLeo on (January 9, 2013, 18:03 GMT)

@matchfixerpkn: Seriously, do you even follow cricket? OR are you one of those "so called" fans who believes that our cricketers lose the tournaments finals after YOU have done the hard to work to bring them to the finals? Because, these tirades against Malinga (&others) is NOT based on facts or reality. Malinga is the highest wicket taker in ODIs for two years in a row now (2011 & 2012). I am grateful to him (& others like Sanga & Mahela) for ignoring the constant vilification of him by ungrateful, envious and unknowledgeable "fans" like you.

Posted by Hamayoun on (January 9, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

What a waste to not be able to see someone as good as Malinga in test cricket.

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 9, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

These 'ODI specialists' aka not good enough for test cricket players (which is especially embarrassing considering how poor Sri Lanka are in tests, including having never won one in Oz) will hardly have us shaking in our boots.

Posted by SL_Boy on (January 9, 2013, 17:16 GMT)

Maaaalinga ..... Maaaalinga .....

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

sri lanka's middle order is going 2 be problem without sanga there.....lahiru thirimane i think in my opinion people isint suited for the limited overs format game is suited more for the longer version i feel .....they should have kept dimuth karunaratne in the squad ......i dont know what they were doing there .....his got all the shots in the book.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

Lasith Malinga has been the leading wicket taker in ODI's for the past 3 years! 2010, 2011 & 2012 Highest ODI wicket taker. He's the all time highest wicket taker in IPL history and now the highest wicket taker in Big Bash League. Most ODI hatrick's ever as well. No doubt he's the best Limited Overs fast bowler in the world today and bowls the best Yorker. Anyone who disagrees is clearly living in denial.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

@mukesh love cricket_ as name suggest u might be an typical indian fan.i have to ask u one thing..if malinga is ordinary how can we talk to ur indian 'super' fast need any other example..even in ur ipl he was the purple cap holder twice..hikz.. I can understand ur depression:-D

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

Malinga is a one day specialist. Since he has been playing in the Australian pitches, SL will have some positive chances in the coming ODIs.

Posted by MilroyL.S.A.Don on (January 9, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

Hope Malinga would deliver some good cricket for Sri Lankan Cricket to end the AUS series in style. Good luck guys...

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (January 9, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

Sinhaya..malinga only shines in ipl and big du u know what the standard of batsman in ipl and big bash.. now dnt compare even malinga near chaminda vaas..

Posted by on (January 9, 2013, 14:16 GMT)

@miles100 - SL at present is a mediocre test team like NZ (with the possible exception of sangakara) , and malinga is a pretty ordinary bowler , i don't understand how you reached this conclusion of SL becoming no.1 TEST TEAM if they had malinga in tests !

Posted by on (January 9, 2013, 14:06 GMT)

malinga is a pretty ordinary bowler , very good at T20 and very average in ODI , his unorthodox action makes him difficult to batsmen playing him for first time but once that unfamiliarity goes he can be easily taken on , and with 2 new balls reverse swing is also out of question !

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 9, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

I liked that Malinga is bowling in the Big Bash. The next World Cup will be jointly held in Australia/New Zealand, and in the last tri-series with India/Australia, he was struggling for consistency. He also really struggled to bowl the "short of a length" ball which is really important and effective on the bouncy Australian Wickets. After playing in the Big Bash, I feel his coaches will have told him that and taught him that. It really does pay to be travelling all over the world and gaining this valuble experience. Senanayake is also another player who is gaining from this and Sri Lanka would be smart to call him up is Mendis or Dhanajaya fails

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 9, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

Will be interesting to see if Malinga holds up over 10 overs after the BBL hit and giggle stuff. I seem to recall him going for 99 runs off ten overs last season, in the last round of the tri-series in Australia, vs India. It will be an interesting series here, as there are so many unknowns.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (January 9, 2013, 12:55 GMT)

It's good that Malinga get some practice in Australian pitches. At least in that way, he will develop regardless of the crazy SL Cricket board. Few years ago, we used to say that Sri Lanka cricket is sort of a paradise kind of a place, as they had millions of dollars to spend. Now, it's a dramatic change. Everybody knows what happened. Crazy!

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

malinga `s test average is low but don`t forget he didnt play test cricket after becoming a world class bowler..

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 9, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

Hope Malinga continues his form. He tends to do far better in domestic T20s than in international T20s.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 9, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

@Hyclass and Macca Mat, both Khawaja and D Hussey are very good players and will do well in the ODI team and you can't go wrong with either of them for Mike Hussey's spot but i would lean towards Khawaja simply because he was a close second to Punters spot to Hughes and has been standby batsman for the last month. Its time to give him a proper go to see if he can do well at the top level. My prediction is that Sri Lanka will push us hard, their bowling attack looks awesome and 2 of our best players in Clarke and Warner are not playing.

Posted by Perera32 on (January 9, 2013, 12:05 GMT)

@pitch_curator and landl47: Malinga retired in 2009 and played almost all his matches in Flat pitches with no assistance for fast bowlers (to help murali). It was after 2009 that Malinga developed his variations. An average of 33 is not bad after playig in those conditions. Fast bowlers like Anderson has an average of 30 and Broad 32, they've played in pitches that assist fast bowling a lot but have similar averages. Im not saying Anderson and Broad are bad, but Anderson and Broad are refered to as one of the best in the world during when England were No 1 in tests, so you can't say that average is too bad.

Posted by suve on (January 9, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

@Meety: Sri lanka were in 2nd in Test rankings during sometime in 2008-2009. Not trying to say they were the best team or anything but Vaas, Malinga and Fernando was the best combination Sri lanka have had. I remember those three bowlers troubled England in 2007/08 in flat Sri lankan pitches. The current Sri lankan team has good batsmen and spinners but lacks in the fast bowling department largely. But If they had a couple of good fast bowlers in the current squad, it would be an Ideal team.

Posted by chilled_avenger on (January 9, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Malinga's T20 reputation is bloated due to IPL and other Domestic leagues otherwise his T20 International record is not that good! Malinga's record of 48 wickets in 40 T20I matches with an economy rate of 7.48 is okay,but is not as good as that of Dale Steyn,Morne Morkel or Umar Gul! But still people consider Malinga the best bowler in T20s just because of his performances in IPL.I guess that shows that people give more value to Domestic T20 Leagues than T20 Internationals!

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 9, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

@dunger.bob i think we can take both Khawaja and D Hussey but it would require dropping Cowan, if we don't drop him then I think Khawaja will have the advantage due to shield form, Ryobi form and also age. I like the fact selectors have rewarded Finch, Hughes and Khawaja, 3 of the best Ryobi batsman this year. Sri Lanka will be a formidable opposition. Malinga will be very dangerous, in Big Bash he has been unplayable.

Posted by hycIass on (January 9, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

@dunger.bob i take your point, but I have to agree with Edward as for me shield cricket is the best measure of who will replace Hussey and in that Khawaja clearly out plays D Huss with that regards, its a shame D Huss has had such a bad shield season to date otherwise he would be a strong contendor, i for one don't use his age as a barrier but like most other strong nations i.e England, India we need to build our batting attack for the future which also helps Khawaja. I watched both D Huss and Khawaja in the T20 match last night and Khawaja in particular looks like he is real good form at the moment which will help him on Friday.@Meety surely you have to admit that Khawaja is next guy in terms of replacements and has done it on the back of runs in all 3 formats this year. I have heard alot of people talk Cutting down but lets see how he goes, if he has a good series then i am sure he will come on the selectors radar for the longer format.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 9, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

@dunger.bob i would go for Khawaja over David simply because Khawaja has outscored him by 4-1 in the shield series with D Hussey averaging 17 and Khawaja 40 with 4 times the amount of runs as well. Form in the ODI format doesn't translate at test level so I wouldn't use this format to make that decision.@Meety we are talking about replacing Hussey for the test spot and you don't need a finisher at that spot, Khawaja is the next best batsman and deserving of that spot. And if you don't believe his running is sharp now then watch some of his Ryobi or Big Bash games and you can see for yourself. Also looking forward to seeing if Finch can translate his fantastic Big bash and Ryobi form into runs tmr, we will have our work cut out against their bowling attack.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (January 9, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

I hope SL would not throw games away as they did in TESTS. I still think SL players are not mentally tough enough to complete with NEW look Aussies.

Posted by Sugath on (January 9, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

Is this another ploy of the Aussies? We all know Maliga was hit for 56 runs by Windies in T20 final. As I can see they are concerned about unknown Akila and resurgent Mendis. Looks like a shrewd move to make Lankans overconfident

Posted by Meety on (January 9, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

@miles100 on (January 09 2013, 04:35 AM GMT) - sorry matey, but at one point in time, SL had Malinga, Vaas & Murali at the same time. They weren't close to #1 then. @pitch_curator on (January 09 2013, 06:03 AM GMT) - historically a Strike rate of around 52 is world class, 3 Malinga's would be a massive handful! @ TsoroM on (January 09 2013, 07:09 AM GMT) - he was quoting the first comment! @dunger.bob on (January 09 2013, 07:27 AM GMT) - I would rule out Khawaja as a replacement for MHussey in terms of a finisher. Not saying not a selection, but he is unlikely to bat low in the order. Whilst he has improved his running between wickets (so they say), it can't be anywhere near Husseys. @Harshani Pereira - are you a sports medicine doctor? Do you know exactly what Malinga's past injuries were? Unless you walk a mile in somebodys shoes mate, do not pretend to know what motivates a bloke! I would love to see Malinga play test cricket, but he can't, he has chosen to secure his future.

Posted by MrMojoRisin on (January 9, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

@miles100, Malinga averages over 33 runs per wicket in tests. That is closer to the averages of Indian pace bowlers, who are widely described as a toothless bunch. I suppose you could argue, the Indians did become the #1 test team for a brief while, but I suspect it was more their batting that got them there, definitely not their substandard bowling.

Posted by priceless1 on (January 9, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

Malinga is a different Bowler when he playing for a league team (playing for Money )and when he is playing for the Home Team , since late he has been nothing but a big burden for the Home Team SL

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (January 9, 2013, 7:47 GMT)

malinga is good bolwer..he can bowl 6 perfect yorkers in one over on target..

but once bats man starts to pick him he becomes big laibility.. batsman converts his yorkers as overpitch or as fulltoss .. i still remember how virat kohli thrashed him arond the park ..and biggest set back by samuels big hitting in t 20 final....

but at any cost he is best in curent srilankan squad... but its foolish ness to compare him to chaminda vaas... malinga cant be vaas in any conditions..

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 7:29 GMT)

@ miles100, you really should learn a bit more about your team before making silly comments.

Posted by TsoroM on (January 9, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

@ PFEL, Sri Lanka the best number one test team, not a chance even with Malinga and Vaas in, with current crop of batsmen they are doomed. They current pace attack is quite terrible to be honest but even Malinga and Vaas would need runs to bowl to and at the moment the batsmen are just not putting up enough.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

If he can think more about the nation, rather than too much money oriented and selfish he would be the best

Posted by DiamondSoul on (January 9, 2013, 6:58 GMT)

Malinga is far better in these type of conditions. But not with indians.becs they have read him well earlier. But I wish Mali all the success in the series.

Posted by Hippiantor on (January 9, 2013, 6:57 GMT)

@landl47 I'm pretty certain Maxwell will be in the team for the series. The selectors seem very keen to play him. I think if they do play Cutting it will be as a fast bowler who bats a bit rather than at n.o. 7 as an allrounder. I'd say your team looks about right though maybe Hughes and Khawaja swap positions. Aus is looking for a permanent n.o. 3 and I don't think Khawaja will play once the others have returned. Hughes would fit that role well.

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 6:43 GMT)

Not with his home side David

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Its True Mallinga would always show his form only in Other countries 20-20 formats (IPL,BBL). Either he would go out of form or retired hurt when he is playing for his homeside

Posted by landl47 on (January 9, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

@miles100: that's odd, because from 2004-2009 Sri Lanka DID have Malinga and Vaas, and also Murali, Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan and Jayasuriya.... and they still weren't the no:1 test team.

I think your enthusiasm is running away with you. Malinga got 101 test wickets at 33 each, not a bad record but not world-beating. He's a better one-day bowler than he ever was a test bowler.

Posted by pitch_curator on (January 9, 2013, 6:03 GMT)

@ Miles100 -- Test cricket is different from One day cricket and the type of bowling required is also different. Malinga's record in tests is mediocre. Average of 33 and strike rate of 52.Two or three more malingas in test would also not do anything with these numbers. He is very good in ODI format though especially against guys who have not faced him previously (same like mendis).

Posted by   on (January 9, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

Well Said Hussey... ""They've got some of the best bowlers in the world," Hussey said. "Lasith Malinga, I was lucky enough to play with him at the Melbourne Stars and he's in the form of his life. "

Posted by satish619chandar on (January 9, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

My 11 for Australia : Haddin, Finch, Khawaja, Bailey, Hussey, Maxwell, Johnson, Cutting, Starc, McKay, Doherty. I think Hughes can wait for his turn in shorter versions. Maxi can't be very relied as all rounder and with no genuine all rounder, better they can go with Mitch as one. For SL, Dilshan, Mahela, Chandimal, Tharanga(He did a good job in middle order last time around), Thirimanne, Angelo, Jeevan, Thissera, Kula, Malinga, Herath. Terribly tempted to play Akila as second spinner but to maintain balance as the middle order is not very experienced in absence of Sanga and Mahela elevated to open, need to skip him. Of course, the new rules plays part in rejecting a extra spinner. Dilly and Jeevan can share the spin duties based on left/right batsmen.

Posted by Meety on (January 9, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

""The UAE series probably didn't go to plan. I didn't play very well at all, and then the World T20 I didn't get much of an opportunity....I really have struggled the first part of the Shield season..." It is unfortunate for DHussey as he would be extremely close to selection for the Baggy Green. Hussey was excellent in the ODIs last summer & looked to have stepped his game up, but from then on, he hasn't looked good. I would assume if he can hit 2 tons in the Ryobi & have his credentials, he should get some Shield runs later this season, probably too late for India, but may get him a tour to England!

Posted by anver777 on (January 9, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

Like you said Malinga must continue his good form in ODI's against Aussies.. SL really had few issues in their weakened bowling attack so far in this tour. Since Aus side is filled with few newcomers SL has the best chance to topple Aus !!!!!

Posted by PFEL on (January 9, 2013, 4:58 GMT)

"If SL test team has 2 good pacemen of the calibre of Malinga and Vass , I guarantee that SL will be world's no:1 test team" I think your logic is a bit off sir

Posted by landl47 on (January 9, 2013, 4:50 GMT)

I'll be interested to see what others feel the XI will be. To me it looks as though Aus has picked three #7s in Maxwell, Smith and Cutting, so two of them will miss out. Smith seems to have given up bowling almost entirely (he's only bowled twice and taken no wickets in his last ten games), so he seems to be cover for a specialist batsman. Cutting's a seam-bowling allrounder, so maybe he plays if the wicket is a bit green, and Maxwell's an aggressive batsman who bowls a bit of offspin, so he gets the nod if the wicket's dry.

That makes the team, as I see it: Hughes, Finch, Khawaja, Bailey, Hussey, Haddin, Cutting/Maxwell, Johnson, Starc, McKay, Doherty. Smith comes in if one of the top 5 is injured and both Cutting and Maxwell play if a bowler goes down.

Thoughts, anyone?

Posted by miles100 on (January 9, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

Also in ODI's also Thisara Perera can cause upset with the ball especially in the MCG match if SL bowls first. He is an improving bowler. 2 Occasions that Malinga got hammered by Virath & Marlon was mainly due to the fuller deliveries he was bowling at them. No full tosses from Malinga means danger time for any good good batsmen. If SL test team has 2 good pacemen of the calibre of Malinga and Vass , I guarantee that SL will be world's no:1 test team...

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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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