Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series 2nd final, Adelaide March 5, 2012

Australia wait on Warner fitness


Pre-match training drills will determine whether or not David Warner can attempt to finish off Sri Lanka in the triangular series after setting Australia on the path to a 1-0 finals lead with a staunch 163 at the Gabba.

Warner suffered a groin strain during the innings and did not field, later emerging to indicate his own doubts about whether he would be fit in time for the Adelaide Oval match. But he pulled up as well as could be expected on the team's travel day from Brisbane, and on arrival at the team hotel resumed recovery work with the team's physio Alex Kountouris.

David Hussey spoke for the rest of the team when he expressed how much Warner was valued, particularly after he found the right gears for ODI success in his Brisbane innings, an affair more restrained than many of his Twenty20 efforts and even some Test match innings.

"He's going to have a fitness test tomorrow morning but we all hope he's up and firing for it, it was a fantastic innings and all the boys are hoping he replicates that tomorrow," Hussey said. "He's an integral part of the team, opening batsman. If he comes out and produces another 150, that'd be fantastic for us and go a long way towards us achieving our goal and winning the series in two games."

Australia's players were aware of how close they had come to letting Sri Lanka wriggle free to victory on Sunday night, and if any doubted it they were quickly brought into line by the captain Michael Clarke. Hussey reasoned that a greasy ball and the threat of rain had not helped, two obstacles far less likely to appear in Adelaide. He also acknowledged the shock value of Nuwan Kulasekara, who blazed 73 when many thought the match was done.

"We know the conditions were a bit greasy and it was very hard to stand up for the fast bowlers, so if we can just execute our skills, practice our yorkers a bit more, I think we'll go a long way towards winning the game," Hussey said. "I thought we played three-fourth of the perfect game last night.

"They did [surprise], particularly Kulasekara, he's a bit of a fighter, doesn't want to give his wicket away cheaply and he's desperate to win games for his team. He struck the ball nicely, we were very lucky to see the back of him at the time, and we scraped over the line."

Apart from Warner, who if injured is most likely to be replaced by Peter Forrest, the fast bowlers James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus are looking over their shoulders at the likely decision to recall Clint McKay, a slower but steadier option than either of the Test pacemen looked in Brisbane.

"I think Clint's performed very well throughout the series, not only against Sri Lanka but India as well," Hussey said. "He's one of the leading wicket-takers. So if the selection does come up I think Clint will do an exceptional job."

Apart from the fatigue of a long summer and the looming threat of a Sri Lankan side that is finding itself again after nearly a year of uncertainty and stagnation, Australia also face the obstacle of unbroken ground. Hussey reminded all that not every member of the squad had won an ODI trophy at home, the desire to do so building its own pressure.

"This is a chance to win a series, not all of us have won series in Australia in ODIs," he said. "So I think it is very important we actually close out the series tomorrow in a professional manner, play good, decent cricket and perhaps the perfect game."

Edited by Siddarth Ravindran

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashok on March 5, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    SL top 5 batsmen have to come big if they hope to win otherwise it is a good bye time! It is because of their top batting clicking that SL made it to the final. Also Jaya has to make better use of the economical bowlers like Dilshan & Herath, albeit it is seamers tracks in Australia. Malinga has to bowl much better as he has been too generous on runs- often going with one or no wkts!. Warner is a free swinger & "hit or miss" type of player. If the ball is kept on the wkts.with a couple of fielders in deep, he will be bowled or caught, early in the innings. It was the opening bats that killed SL in the first ODI. It promises to be an interesting finale to the season in Australia.

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Warner may not play and if Malinga strikes SL has a chance.

  • Nikhilesh on March 5, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Hope he is fit, praying every moment, will feel extremely bad if he misses this extremely important game, a great chance for him to prove his consistency. Great fella, hope to see him playing tomorrow! As I've said a gazillion times prior to this one, DAVID WARNER IS A FUTURE GREAT!!!!!

  • Jayaram on March 5, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Yeah, Malinga speaks for his Class. He was 4 short of his hundred against India, oh my, it was for his bowling...lolz.

  • Suresh on March 5, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    @"Fast_Track_Bully" Don't worry we are in the finals.. some how. LOL.

  • Dummy4 on March 5, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    But even a bad Malinga is still the highest wicket taker in the tournament..speaks for his class...

  • Bryn on March 5, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    what a player. just make sure he is fully good to go for the windies tour. he could score freakish, ridiculous amounts of runs in the caribbean

  • $$ milind on March 5, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    Malinga would surely love Adelaide and so d Sri Lankan top order. Hence d next 2 matches seem in LANKA'S WAY ........... Mr. Fast_Track_Bully

  • Manesh on March 5, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    SL main bowler seems to be the worst bowler of the series! He is going for century every 2 match! but missed out in the previous occasions by few runs...

  • sampath on March 5, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    Be aware Lions are roaring.

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