Australia v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Hobart January 22, 2013

Australia aim to salvage drawn series


Match facts

January 23, Bellerive Oval
Start time 1420 (0320 GMT)

Big Picture

Sri Lanka might have been upset at the way the fourth ODI in Sydney was called off as a result of light rain, but the decision has had one benefit for the visitors: Australia can no longer win the series. Otherwise, little has changed as the teams prepare for the final match in Hobart. Australia's batsmen are still under pressure to perform, although David Warner at least showed some positive signs during his innings of 60 at the SCG. Sri Lanka's bowlers are still proving dangerous and should be again at Bellerive Oval, although their batsmen have had little to do in the past few games. And again, Sri Lanka enter a match knowing that victory will secure them a series win. They have history on their side, albeit from a small sample size: Sri Lanka have won the only two ODIs they have ever played against Australia at Bellerive Oval.

The major question in the lead-up to the match surrounds the fitness of Australia's captain Michael Clarke, who rolled his ankle at training on the day before the game. George Bailey stood in at the pre-match captain's press conference and is likely to find himself filling in again at the toss. The probable loss of Clarke will weaken Australia's batting even further, and again the pressure will be heavily on Warner to set the innings up. For Sri Lanka, more of the same from their bowlers, led by Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith Malinga, will go a long way to making them the first team ever to beat Australia in two bilateral one-day series in Australia.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia LLWWL
Sri Lanka WWLWW

In the spotlight

David Hussey started the series well, with a quick unbeaten 60 at the MCG and then 29 at Adelaide Oval in an innings that ended only due to a run-out. But he was a victim of Sri Lanka's outstanding swing bowling in the next two games with single-figure scores and as the senior man in the middle order, the Australians will look to Hussey to provide a stabilising presence in Hobart, especially if Clarke does not play. Given that he was left out of the Twenty20 squad announced on Monday, Hussey would be keen to avoid a hat-trick of low scores as the selectors begin to think about the ODI squad that will take on West Indies next month.

In Sydney, Rangana Herath was preferred to Ajantha Mendis and bowled well in his first match of the series. Sri Lanka's swing bowlers have been their key weapons in the past three games but the Hobart surface has tended to be on the slow side this summer, which might bring Herath's spin into the contest even more.

Team news

Clarke's ankle injury could force a change to the batting line-up. If Clarke is ruled out it will likely mean Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques will both play as allrounders at Nos.6 and 7, unless the selectors call up another batsman as cover.

Australia (possible) 1 Phillip Hughes, 2 David Warner, 3 George Bailey (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Matthew Wade (wk), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Moises Henriques, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.

Sri Lanka dropped the out-of-form Upul Tharanga for the fourth match and included Dinesh Chandimal as wicketkeeper, leaving Kushal Perera in the side as a specialist batsman. They also preferred Rangana Herath's spin to that of Ajantha Mendis, and there appears no reason to change the side for the fifth game.

Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 2 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 3 Lahiru Thirimanne, 4 Dinesh Chandimal (wk), 5 Kushal Perera, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Jeevan Mendis, 8 Thisara Perera, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath.

Pitch and conditions

The two ODIs at Bellerive Oval last summer provided totals of 280-plus in all four innings and despite the pitch square being relaid during the off season, the two Ryobi Cup matches there in October and November also allowed reasonable first-innings scores of 248 and 275. The forecast for Wednesday is mostly sunny and a top of 21C.

Stats and trivia

  • Australia and Sri Lanka have met in two ODIs at Bellerive Oval and both were won by Sri Lanka
  • Tillakaratne Dilshan needs 13 more runs to reach the 7000 milestone in ODIs


"It would be nice to salvage this series and escape with 2-2, get it back to level pegging. There's a lot on the line."
George Bailey

"We have controlled all three games the way we wanted to so I'm pretty confident coming to Hobart."
Mahela Jayawardene on Sri Lanka's past three performances

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on January 23, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    @WheresTheEmpire on (January 22 2013, 08:57 AM GMT) - great last 2 sentences!!!! @Shaggy076 on (January 22 2013, 10:36 AM GMT) - Tests are the best, but I love ODIs as well - couldn't care less for its mutilated sibling 20/20 though. Amongst my "best of" memories, I would say any one of a number of Michael Bevan salvage jobs, particularly THAT last ball 4 against the then still brilliant WIndies.

  • Manoj on January 23, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    Shaggy076 - Agree with you. Test cricket is ultimate measure for a true cricket fan. Sadly, with all the money in cricket these days, T20 and ODIs tend to be draw more attention, especially outside Australia. Therefore, it is difficult gauge the 'true' nature of an International side simply by the performance of their test side. That might be true for Australia, but not for other touring countries, hence the disconnect in terms of underestimating the skills of touring sides. See South Africa vs NZ - after the absolute thrashing in Test - NZ turned things around and won the ODI series quite comfortably.

  • Shamil on January 23, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    SL should have had the series tied up already SCG got only 0.2 mm of rain during the day when the 4th SL vs AUS ODI was played there on the 20th of January 2012 However after this farce, the Grounds Keeper himself said the ground's drainage can handle up to 400mm per hour. In the same interview, he says he couldn't remove the water to make it playable. "The SCG surface can cope with up to 400mm of rain per hour, but it was no match for the drizzle and still conditions which prevented ground staff from making the venue fit for play" Read more:

    The actual rain on the day was less than 0.00015% of what he claims the ground could handle, but yet, couldn't get the ground ready for play! Unbelievable! It's disgraceful, dishonest and shameful.

    continued in next comment...

  • Nik on January 22, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    hahahha always funny to see the Poms, Aussies and Saffers point out that "tests are the real deal..ODI's are rubbish...whinge whine whinge" as soon as they lose or are about to loose a ODI series. Well done Sri Lanka, NZ and India!

  • David on January 22, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    fazald, maybe they should split up the innings like they did in the Australian interstate ODI competition? Say, one team bats for 25 overs, other for 50 overs, first team for 25 overs again. The D-L gets easier and the advantage of order is diffused.

  • disco on January 22, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    @TrueLankan, there is a Test championship mate, it's the The Test Rankings. It is precisely because a Test series is actually a real test, that a Test Championship is impossible. It would take 6 months to get to the knock out stages.

  • Graham on January 22, 2013, 22:05 GMT

    Mjee - I was making my point that to cricekters and most fans test cricket is still the ultimate, none of these series are meaningless and leave a lsating memory. I remember all the losses as well as the wins - but as far as one-day cricket and World Cups I only have a temporary interest. I never claimed we were better thatn Souuth Africa or England.

  • Dummy4 on January 22, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    Cheers to Australia. Warner, Clarke, Hussy. Starc, Johnson batting. Bowling johnson, Starc. Macay & Maxwell. When Stac bowler scores 50 plus in sydney means srilankan bowling attack is weak. They will win.Go go go Australia.

    Support from Indian fan

  • Kan on January 22, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    Had the game continued in Sydney SL would have definitely won because the D/L always favour the team batting second.V Jayaddevan rule,which is followed in domestic cricket back in India should be made international over the biased D/L.This is game is for SL because of their super bowling attack and weak Aussie batting.

  • namal on January 22, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    mr.shehan,i am completely agree wit u..We need upul tharanga for playing xi,upul played really well last cb series finals as a middle order..he failed last matches.but upul has 12 hundreds,only 161 games.mahela 390 games 14 or 15 hundreds..dilshan 14 in 250 plus,sanga 13 or 14 in 330 games..some upul should score over 30 hundreds in 300 matches.also get 10000 runs..pls dnt drop him..mahela,sanga.dilshan are aging ove 36...pls include him for the test squad also.