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Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Sri Lanka seek one-day redemption

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

January 10, 2013

Comments: 99 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Aaron Finch top-scored for the Renegades with 72, Melbourne Renegades v Brisbane Heat, BBL, Melbourne, January 12, 2012
Aaron Finch has been in remarkable one-day and T20 form domestically © Getty Images
Related Links
January 11, MCG
Start time 1420 (0320 GMT)

Big Picture

The great mystery of Sri Lankan cricket is how they can be so disappointing in Tests and yet so impressive in the shorter formats. In part it comes down to personnel, for bowlers like Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis are not in the Test setup but are consistently dangerous in limited-overs matches. Part of it must also be a down to attitude: at times during the Test series, the Sri Lankans clearly lacked the kind of patience that could have helped them challenge Australia, but across 50 overs such a mindset is not a bad thing.

Part of is simply a matter of confidence. Sri Lanka deserve to be bullish entering this five-match series. Last time they played a bilateral one-day series in Australia they won, and in last summer's triangular series they took Australia to a third final. They have also won their past three one-dayers at the MCG, the venue of this first game.

On paper, Sri Lanka appear a much stronger side than in the Tests, and not just because of Malinga and Mendis. Thisara Perera is a fine limited-overs allrounder, Akila Dananjaya is a spinner of potential and mystery, and men such as Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne, who came in for the Sydney Test, should be in their element.

Australia's squad is a mixed bag. There are four uncapped men - Phillip Hughes, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Ben Cutting - but all four are very fine players who deserve their opportunities. At 35, Brad Haddin is back for his first international match in nearly a year, and the team will be led by the T20 captain George Bailey. Their lack of experience is glaring. Missing from this squad are Michael Clarke (221 games), Shane Watson (154), Michael Hussey (185), as well as the less experienced but first-choice David Warner and Matthew Wade.

Australia have made no secret of the fact that this squad has been chosen with tours of India and England in mind, as well as the 2015 World Cup. But in the meantime, are they good enough to beat a dangerous Sri Lanka team picked as much for the present as the future?

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia WLWWL
Sri Lanka WWWLL

In the spotlight

Aaron Finch has been in irresistible limited-overs form this summer and has a chance to make his name as an ODI player. The leading run scorer in the Ryobi Cup this season with 497 runs at 99.40 and in the Big Bash League with 309 runs at 77.25, his powerful striking has been one of the major reasons the Melbourne Renegades have been the dominant team in the Twenty20 tournament. He even hit the roof at Etihad Stadium with one enormous stroke in December. Finch has played three Twenty20 internationals and performed well, and now he has his chance in the 50-over game. Finch will open the batting and his home crowd will be hoping to witness something memorable in his first ODI.

Just as Finch is the BBL's top run scorer, Lasith Malinga is its leading wicket taker with 13 at 10.69 for the Melbourne Stars. He mesmerised the Perth Scorchers with 6 for 7 and Sri Lanka hope he will carry that kind of form into this series. His slingy action disguises his accurate, swinging yorkers, deceptive slower balls and dangerous bouncers and along with the spinner Ajantha Mendis, he could be the most important player in the series.

Team news

Australia have confirmed their line-up, with Cutting and Steven Smith the men to sit out of this game. Finch and Hughes will open, with Khawaja at first drop, while Glenn Maxwell is expected to bat in the top six.

Australia 1 Phillip Hughes, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Usman Khawaja, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 David Hussey, 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Clint McKay, 11 Xavier Doherty.

"We haven't finalised [the team] but the two quicks who had the niggles, Kulasekara and Eranga, both are pretty fit, both bowled yesterday so we'll let them go through their bowling routines today and make a call after that," Mahela Jayawardene said on Thursday.

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

Pitch and conditions

There was a little more pace and bounce than expected during the MCG Test and the pitch should be dry, given Melbourne's forecast of 37C for the day of the match.

Stats and trivia

  • Sri Lanka have won the past three ODIs between these teams at the MCG
  • Mitchell Johnson is the only member of Australia's squad who has played 100 one-day internationals
  • George Bailey will become the 21st man to captain Australia in ODIs


"Watching a few of the replays of the games last year there were some great contests. I don't think playing in Australian conditions holds many fears for the Sri Lankans in the one-day format."
George Bailey

"The last time we won a series here was under Kumar when we came before the World Cup. Since then we've had a lot of success in Australia."
Mahela Jayawardene

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

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hyclass on (January 11, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

Agreed @Meety and much amusement at the'other' me's posts. Also some hilarity at the levels to which they're prepared to take it and the lack of skills to do so.My observations are that in seeing half a dozen player results that appear to be the same, there is a general assumption that all the causes must be the same.There are numerous examples. Watson is generally deemed to have brain explosions,lack back-bone or suffer nerves.Not once have I read that the obvious connecting theme could be and is fatigue caused by rapid loss of electrolytes in a muscular physique.Shaun Marsh was deemed to have class and pedigree despite an ordinary record.Injury records,opponents & conditions he scored in and attitude were never discussed. Khawaja has talent but gives every indication of lacking the energy and will power to deliver on that promise.There is an element of political correctness gone mad in the willingness to avoid prima facie evidence. I hope he succeeds but like you, lack conviction.

Posted by Meety on (January 11, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

@hyclass on (January 11 2013, 06:23 AM GMT) - yep, I have also assumed that there is one person with multiple identies on here. I don't know what your "other you" is supposed to be, it's a pretty poor parady IMO. As for Khawaja, ultimately I am loathe to bang on much about an average of 39 in a Shield season. IMO - he has shown enuff for me to be confident he will do well at Test level, but I have my eyes wide open in that regard & fingers crossed. Early days - but Khawaja's fielding seems to be sharp - running between wickets not so!!!!!!

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 11, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Logic exhibited by most SL and some other fans:

1. Sri Lanka are a top class ODI side cos they reached the finals of WC 2011. 2. Ind are a poor ODI side even though they reached the finals of WC 2011.

One can clearly see how comical their reasoning is.

Apparently they do not think it is all that difficult to win a World Cup at home and will ack a WC win ONLY if it came away form home. But hey, Ind did that too in 1983. In fact they even won the 1985 World Series in Aus i.e away from home. Yet these fans never correct their wrong beliefs.

As for winning-WC-at-home-is-easy theory, who else has done it? NONE. Eng have hosted the WC 4 times so far, cudn't even reach the finals 3 times HaHa. Aus cudn't make the SF at home WC, SA crashed in the 1st round itself in 03.

In WC 2011, why were the other nations unable to do the DIFF task of winning WC away from home? They can't win at home nor away. SL won at home in 2011 and failed away too. Yet they are good but Ind bad?

You Hypocrites.

Posted by hyclass on (January 11, 2013, 6:23 GMT)

@Meety...with due respect, Ive been hearing various extreme versions of that theme from certain Khawaja-files on here for the last two seasons.At least one has numerous profiles, even on this blog including trying to copy my blog name to make his point. Averages are an excellent reference point because they give a picture over time against varied opponents and in different conditions. Your view is a hypothesis formed from an observation of evidence. An alternative view of the same evidence might be that the other batsmen were very sub-standard. Khawaja certainly had the advantage of having played CC leading into the Shield season.Regardless of perspective, his average is what it is-11 runs lower than it was when he was first selected for Tests. His results then were identical to Bevan's in S/R and average-not a great recommendation. I acknowledge that he is playing more aggressively and I believe he has talent but the observations of Inverarity summed up their views of his status.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (January 11, 2013, 4:01 GMT)


I'd hardly call Sri Lanka an "extraordinarily weak team" they are a very strong ODI team after all they made the world cup final 2 years back. Granted they are down a few players but they are still a very strong limited overs side. Don't let their test performances fool you

Posted by   on (January 11, 2013, 3:03 GMT)

I think the new rules have changed so much for the fast bowlers. It will be interesting to see how both teams cope up with that. Being a cricket fan, I hope to see good contests in this series.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2013, 2:40 GMT)

@ An_offside_ran, I totally agree with your team selection, though I think Chandimal should play wkt keeper/batsman in T20 & ODI, I mean of AB De V, Matt Wade, Keiswetter, Sanga, McCullun and even Dhoni could do it then Chandi should do it with flying colours. I would like to see Thiri in the middle order and Dimuth K as an opener, however that will depend on whether Sanga wil play on or not.

Posted by WillBeThere on (January 11, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

Sri Lanka will not be backed out , because of failed Test series, Everyone knows that Sri Lankan team is always better than Indian team no matter what. Win or loose, Lankans will have fun always. Not like Indians we dont burn houses or throw stones at players then they loose :)

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (January 11, 2013, 1:50 GMT)

With 1 batsman in the top 6 having played more than 20 matches the selectors really should have included Mike Hussey in the squad. Even with him and his brother there the team would look extremely light on for experience. Play him in all the matches, rotate the less experienced players around him, david and Bailey (as the captain he's got to play) and you'd still be able to get a reasonable idea of the new ones.

As far as the best Australian One day team goes even if he doesn't bowl Watson's got a better claim to be in that than most (average 41, strike rate 88), certainly better than Warner (average 30, strike rater 81)

If he does bowl he's got to be near the first one picked - and he might end up bowling in the shorter forms but not in tests.

Posted by   on (January 11, 2013, 1:12 GMT)

Why dont they give chance to "Angelo Perera"?He is a good allround player,who've got Slow left arm bowling ability..He scored many Runs in this year's List A tournament,and smashed most number of sixers..

Posted by landl47 on (January 11, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

@Bradman_the_greatest: Warner will certainly have a real challenge making runs in this game, since he isn't in the squad. @kirangupta: Since 5 of the Aus XI you have named aren't in the squad, my thoughts are that you need to focus a bit better. Think about those who are actually going to play. @kc69: the young future of Aussie bowling is represented by exactly one bowler, Starc. Cutting isn't playing, nor is Smith (who has basically given up bowling anyway) and Maxwell is a batting allrounder who wouldn't be anywhere near the team as a bowler. So I guess we should watch out for Starc?

Really, don't you guys even read the article before commenting?

Posted by Meety on (January 11, 2013, 0:48 GMT)

@Jono Makim - I just have a preference for Smith v Maxwell. IMO, if the powers that be get Smith right (batting & bowling), he will be a major force in Oz cricket across all formats. I acknowledge that Maxwell's List A S/Rate is outstanding, there would be few batsmen around the world that have maintained that S/R over that average & duration. @ hyclass on (January 10 2013, 13:54 PM GMT) - I have agreed with the rationale with most of your observations re: Khawaja - just bear in mind that whilst his Shield ave is low this season, I did a peer analysis where it indicated that in the matches he played in, he was basically twice as good as any top 7 batsmen in either side over the first half of the season. So I would suggest that it is a 39 average that is really worth a bit more than what it may seem. @ landl47 on (January 10 2013, 14:57 PM GMT) - the last time Oz blooded a top 3 in the one game was during the World Series War, in the WIndies of all places!!!!

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 11, 2013, 0:40 GMT)

Sri Lanka should not seek redemption, they should seek salvation. If they can find it then they would be able to fly out of the cricket world altogether to a place where no Kohli will be there to smash their Malinga to the ropes. They will be free of any pain and any other negative emotion there....Sri Lanka for Salvation....Yes.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (January 10, 2013, 23:38 GMT)

@Bradman_the_greatest, Mate, Warner isn't playing and Sri Lanka were in the final of the last world cup and gave a very good account of themselves here last year. They are consistently one of the best ODI setups in the world. Your whole comment was nonsense.

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 10, 2013, 23:32 GMT)

@Bradman_the_greatest, almost every assertion you make in your post is incorrect. That's some achievement. And even the factual reference to the pom "whitewash" is irrelevant. After all, we flogged them 6-1 here last time before that, so that's all you need to contextualize it.

Posted by maf17 on (January 10, 2013, 23:25 GMT)

Make no mistake, Sri Lanka will win this series. But that wont matter to Australia. They have already signified they have no interest in winning by using it as an opportunity to blood olayers for the future. One team has taken the short-term view, the other the long-term perspective. Which will pay off I wonder? In Australia's case they may not know until 2015. If Cutting takes 30 wickets or Finch blasts a couple of tons in the World Cup, will the commentators who have excoriated the selectors for picking a B-side now apologise? I wait with bated breath.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

It will be good series to watch. I reckon Sri-Lanka would be much more competitive. If I were to bet my money on a team, I would do it on Sri-Lanka, simply because they are hungrier to redeem themselves after being battered in Test Cricket. I am curious how it Khawaja made it into ODI squad?

Posted by CricketFan2011WC on (January 10, 2013, 22:26 GMT)

I feel Dimuth Karunaratne should be given a chance as a steadying player after one down. I am very impressed with this youngster in his confidence to play fast and swinging balls. I really do not see Tharanga and Mahela doing well in bouncy pitches. SL indeed have a good bowling side but bit hard to assume that they really have a steady batting lineup. I am in that belief because at a given day at least two to three batsmen should steady the batting with confidence and I do not see that happening. Hope to see some good fighting cricket though. CricInfo pls post.

Posted by kc69 on (January 10, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

With these aussie yougsters i will give Sri Lanka a 60-40 advantage(watch out for young future of Aussie bowling though)

Posted by SL_Boy on (January 10, 2013, 17:35 GMT)

this is a fight against SL batting ... if SL bat well thing might change ... but dont see any exciting names around except Tissara … unfortunately (Angelo Perera, Maharoof or Mr Unlucky(Kapu) guys can change whole game … hopefully they try for Bangladesh)

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

its good to see that khawaja made a place again with a very new and reformed Aussie team. it would be interesting to see how they take on Srilanka in ODI series. though Srilankan boys are not with full confidence with what they have done in Test series. hopefully they will steer back with their performance. waiting to see consuming battle between them. cheers!!

Posted by kirangupta on (January 10, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

Best Aussie XI : 1. Warner 2. Hughes 3. Finch 4. Clarke 5. D Hussey 6. Nevill 7. Maxwell 8. M Starc 9. Boyce 10. Hilfenhaus 11. Bird

Other 4 Squad members : Paine, Watson, Siddle, Lyon

Best SL XI : Angelo Perera, Thirimanne, Kumar (wk), Jayawardene, Chandimal, Mathews, J Mendis, T Perera, R Herath, Dhananjaya, Malinga

Other 4 Squad Members: Dilshan, A Mendis, K Kulasekara, N Pradeep

Let me know your thoughts

Posted by ozziespirit on (January 10, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

Hopefully this Aussie ODI team will fare better than the one who got whitewashed by the Poms in 2012. Warner looks promising on our flat wickets, and should be in the runs again. He, like all Aussies batsmen have a real test in from of them though: the spinning tracks of India and then the mostly flat but occasionally seaming wickets of England. Please lets move on from last year's whitewash, Australia, we have an extraordinarily weak team to face here, this really shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

Sri Lanka needs to follow Australia's example, and let the youngsters, Akila Dananjaya, Chandimal, Karunaratne, Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis play instead of 'old, senior' players. Let's build for the long run.

Posted by creekeetman on (January 10, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

@ TrueLankan, not sure i agree about the motivation... England, WI, Aus, SA and Pakistan all seem to have the desire to play good test cricket and aspire to be the best. I agree about some sort of recognition tho, not as motivation, but really in an attempt to bring more fans in, and reduce the number of boring one sided tests. thats why for a long time now test nations should've been divided into two divisions. teams within each division will play series against each other, home and away over a 2 year period. the top team in division 1 will be test champions, and the bottom team goes down to division 2, while the top team in division 2 is promoted.

Posted by landl47 on (January 10, 2013, 14:57 GMT)

Aus must think this wicket is suited to Maxwell's style of batting and might take a bit of turn. Relying on Hussey and Maxwell to get through 10 overs between them is a bit of a risk, but if it's a runfest anyway that might not matter. SL looks a much better ODI team than test team, but not having Sanga is a big loss. I wonder when the last time was that both Aus opening batsmen were making their debut? McKay was Aus's best bowler in England in 2012 and it's good to see him getting a chance again.

Looking forward to an interesting game.

Posted by hyclass on (January 10, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

@Edwards_A...I'd be fascinated to know where and when you played against Lehmann. Khawaja's average in Shield is 39 this year-well below what he should expect from himself and follows on from 29 last season.He can and should expect to do better. He can clearly play but has lacked both consistency and the ability to convert starts into big scores. Lehmann scored 86 x 1st class 100's-one every 6 innings and 111 x 50's at an ave of 57. If Khawaja is to approach this standard, he must do far better than 11 x 100's or one every 9 innings at 43 and 20 x 50's. I doubt that anyone other than a one-eyed Khawaja supporter would describe his fielding as 'sharp' or his running as 'fantastic'. The observations on his need to improve in these areas and set an example, were made not so many weeks ago by the Chairman of Selectors, publicly. I thought it was unprofessional of him but he felt particularly strongly about it.Retirements and injury concerns have given him a chance. Let's hope he takes it.

Posted by EnglishCricket on (January 10, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

I swear these two teams played each other in 2012 why again? lets spread the game instead of playing boring same repeated matches over and over again, no wonder fans don't show up.

Posted by jerryman on (January 10, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

Hopefully Sl will play both Ajanta Mendis and Akila .. play 2 spinners and they will make it more difficult for the Aussies .. all we fans is put up a real fight , don't just roll over ..

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 12:55 GMT)

@Edwards_A. I'm not reffering to T20 or the longer form, but ODI crciket. @Matt Hill, @Meety, @Ross_Hambling are all questioning his worth in this format, but from his four matches so far he averages 41 at a strike rate of 116! He played very useful innings in every match of the 3 ODI series against Pakistan including a series sealing half century in the last match. Its a pretty small sample size but he showed more in that series against high quality spin bowling than i've ever seen from the likes of Bailey, Dhussey, White etc.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

SL have a good lineup. i would like for one or two games sl try removing dilshan, tharanga and maybe mahela too. and i like tharanga to bat at about 6. and thirimanna to go upfront. coz sl should really try new players than depending on the seniors. No disrespect for any of them. they are all good players. but they should give way to new talent.

Ausie ream should not be taken light. they have pretty good XI and who knows what's coming. they might play better. this is a game like that. luck and time also count.

I really love to see a team of lot of youngsters playing in SL. and dhananjaya should try to do his best.and try to be unpredictable

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 10, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

@Arjun Singh yes i am predicting big games for Finch and Khawaja as well. @Hyclass i played against Lehman as well and i agree with your comments on his influence on Khawaja, under him not only has he become more aggressive with his batting, his fielding has sharpened and running between the wickets is fantastic. He has also got Khawaja more confident which is great. Feel sorry for Cutting, 12th man last time he was picked for test cricket and 12th man again, hopefully he gets a go in the next game. @hotcric01 i agree with you that Maxwell is not a reliable part time bowler but my fear is that we won't learn that lesson until the Indian series where his spin is exposed by their batsman. I would lean towards other allrounders such as Henriques and Christian.@Jono Makim the critism of Maxwell is not on his T20 game, he is good at that format, we are referring to the longer format.

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (January 10, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

Two teams that are packed full of exciting players in an ODI that allows them to express their attacking instincts. The Aus side has an experimental feel to it while SL look very strong. Should be a good match with a big crowd and lots of Lankan support.

Posted by Baseball-Sucks on (January 10, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

@gnanzcupid; You r losing the touch of reality pal. "If Oz manage to win" ???? you wouldn't know what hit you. If this is really the Oz B side, why don't you bring your A side. In fact there is no A side. This is what your selectors could muster. I hope this Oz team would barely put up a fight. And don't forget we are also missing the leading run scorer 2012, Sangakkara. But no worries..we can still whitewash you. I've been watching your cricket 101 comments. That really makes me laugh. :))))

Posted by hyclass on (January 10, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

I will be watching Hughes progress tomorrow with some interest. Since he began his zealous pursuit of technical legitimacy, his first class record has deteriorated significantly while his List A and T20 records have improved with equal vigour. What has become increasingly prevalent are his dismissals by LBW or bowled, that were rare under his original style. I believe most would consider Malinga to be a 'bowled' specialist with his in-swinging yorker. Of the 3 wickets he took v NZ in the recent home ODI series, 2 were bowled. I think the team will deem its best response to be playing Malinga watchfully and cashing in on the lesser bowlers. One strong reason for the SL success in ODI's over Tests, is that the lesser bowling spells are more in line with the far fewer overs that fast bowlers bowl in SL domestic cricket. That far fewer is in comparison to those fast bowler outside the sub-continent who bowl around 40% more overs during a career. Its significant in shaping their approach.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (January 10, 2013, 11:07 GMT)

how does mckay keep getting games? cutting is much more talented bowler and a good batsmen as well. Two lefties at once with johnson and starc is silly. wheres someone like bird to keep the runs down, all those bowlers are expensive. the less i say about ancient butterfingers throw away my wicket haddin and george who? bailey the better, odis are obviously got one foot in the grave if these are amongst are best 11

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 10, 2013, 10:44 GMT)

Si Baker - The one day team and test team are very different and no-one is auditioning for a test spot. They are looking at a 2015 world cup team and from every indication D Hussey and Haddin will both be available for that world cup so it is conceivable that they would get a game. They havent mentioned youth policy but looking at 2015.

Posted by TrueLankan on (January 10, 2013, 10:35 GMT)

@creekeetman: That is because the Tests do not have a Championship to play for and so there is little to gain other than a Rank 1 status that nobody remembers after a couple of months. However the whole world talks about the ODI WC champions for decades. Test Matches lack relevance and the ICC needs to do something about it.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

I don't get the criticism of Maxwell at this level from some of the commentators here. You guys clearly didn't see him play against Pakistan in the U.A.E. Coming in down the order he was the most proficient of Aussie batsmen at starting against the spinning ball, by quite some distance. Where White and Dhussey were falling within a handful of deliveries, he was placing singles at ease before unleashing some well hit boundaries to every corner, against Ajmal and Hafeez, no less. He can definitely play a very similar role to that of a Symonds. I'm expecting big things.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 10, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

Herath-UK on (January 10 2013, 08:46 AM GMT) : "Some Aussie commentators do not forget to mention how Thomson/Lillie combination felled some SL batsmen & taken them to the hospital before SL got the Test status" . I've never actually heard that brought up in commentary, but I'd say it was Ian Chappel that mentioned it. He also sometimes mentions how Lillee and Thompson felled Englishmen (poor old Colin Cowdrey had the gems re-arranged on a daily basis if you believe Ian). In a book he even mentioned some fellow Aussies who got the treatment if they riled them up. They were tough times for batsmen I suspect.

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

If this current Aussie ODI squad *really* represents the best fringe players the Aussies are planning to throw at India & England, neither team will be breaking sweat overmuch; & if this series is the beginning of serious prep for the 2015 WC, how come the two 35-year-olds Hussey & Haddin are even getting a look-in? Hard to believe Doherty, Maxwell & Smith all have a better chance of going to India as Lyon's back-ups than either O'Keefe or Hauritz, yet that seems to be the selectors' message; likewise, Iron Gloves Haddin getting the nod over the near-impeccable Tim Paine. Mind-boggling stuff.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

@jjazeel: "Except for SA both ENG and Aus have a poor ODI and T20 record in the recent past." Yup, spot on. England played 14 ODIs in 2012 & won 12 of them - including 4-0 series victories over Pakistan & Australia & a 2-0 win against the West Indies - which is why they're now ranked #1 in the world. Impressive research there.

Posted by creekeetman on (January 10, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

ahhh, finally, the shorter version of cricket... the only format asian teams (pakistan apart) seem capable of playing. i guess its because true cricketing ability and mental toughness are not really required.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

"first choice David Warner " he has Played 35 one day games for Aus and averages less then 31 that shouldn't be and isn't first choice for Aus and wade is on par with Haddin. Given Clarke and Watson are injured and mike hussey retired this is a full strength available side . My only change would be o'keefe for Doherty but Doherty has been preferred over time

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

come on mahela we need a 5 - 0 win

Posted by Herath-UK on (January 10, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

There was a time WI quickies giving bodyblows to SL batters but now Dilhara & Malinga have paid back in return.Some Aussie commentators do not forget to mention how Thomson/Lillie combination felled some SL batsmen & taken them to the hospital before SL got the Test status and Malinga probably make take heed of this fact. Ranil Herath - Kent

Posted by joseyesu on (January 10, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

Is Aus in Experiment mode?. I could not see many exp. faces in the team. It almost a fresh side from test, apart from Hughes and Johnson

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 10, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

Cricinfo Journos. Dont ever use the words redemption when comparing Test cricket to ODI. I think its quite clear to see by the make up of ODI team how the player selection drops (Smith, Doherty, etc) when going from Test to ODI cricket. Its called TEST cricket for a reason, its difficult, testing and uncompromising. ODI cricket is hoping to get off to a good start and T20 is a Hit and Giggle.

Posted by DylanBrah on (January 10, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

Xavier Doherty should not be in the team. Poor death bowler as seen in T20 WC, and only 4 wickets in 5 matches @115.50. He's an embarrassment to Australia. Jason Krejza should be given a look with 9 wickets at 20.55. I would even prefer to see Zampa considering this team is looking towards the future. Clearly the selectors don't know what direction they are heading if David Hussey and Brad Haddin are still in the team. I thought they were preparing for 2015 WC???

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

No doubt the Aussie batting is stronger in terms of the present.. but i really do favour the SL bowling attack. I like their batting line-up thou most have not been performing..they probs have added more stability, 1-9 can all hold the bat pree well! In terms of form, aussies batsmen are much mor better..and to see fresh faces..i just cant wait! The form Hughes. Khawaja and Finch is in atm..they really add strength and depth within the line-up.. the bowling department however is weak FULL STOP.. even thou Johnson and Starc can pick up wickets they stil go for runs..and it takes time especially for Starc to get going. Maybe in test, but this being the limited overs game.. i reckon they will struggle! Good Test This :)

Posted by DylanBrah on (January 10, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

No wonder ODI cricket is becoming less popular. You have meaningless series with 2nd string teams. Yawn.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 10, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

@ Meety ". I really don't think that Starc & MJ are a good mix in the same side (too similar in many ways). Whereas Cutting is fairly different to McKay." .. 210% in agreement with that. Too much of the same is a no-no I reckon. I think the best bowling attacks throw up something different for the batsman to think about with every bowling change. .. DiamondSoul on (January 10 2013, 04:19 AM GMT) : Our one day form has been too flash of late whereas SL's is just about always good. Aus. goes in as the under-dogs in this series without a doubt. We'll do our best but it wouldn't surprise me if your guys walked away with it. .. I'm really looking forward to seeing how our young fella's go though. .. also, even though you didn't mention it, I don't think there is any disrespect towards SL with our selections. The guys we rested needed a rest and with all the retirements and what not lately, we have to find a new course to the 2015 World Cup right now. I applaud our selectors for it.

Posted by TrueLankan on (January 10, 2013, 8:08 GMT)

For ALL those criticizing Kulasekara's place he has proved he is an outstanding bowler in the ODI. He was one of the most dangerous bowlers in the last series. Tharanga should not be in the side especially for the first match as he was also dropped in the last series here and came back later to play in the middle order with little effect. Karunaratne must be in if we are to see him to be a great cricketer in the future but unfortunately he isn't even in the squad. Chandimal must bat at 3 and Mahlea at 4 to bring stability.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

i think this series not difficult for lankans, aus team is very weak for spinners. aus has only one good batsman david hussy. he cant play 50 overs, this tournament go to srilanka. i think 4-1 . srilanka will lead series in first three matches. next 2 games guide mathews. good opportunity for mathews.

Posted by gnanzcupid on (January 10, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

I see either k'waja or bailey filling in hussey's big boots. Sl is the best opponent for us for testing our resources and bench strength

Posted by gnanzcupid on (January 10, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

@diamondsoul. Its such a humour to claim that the lankan side is the best in the world. Do you say this after their recent losses against india at home,expulsion in asia cup,pathetic performances against india in australia last year? I say you are day dreaming. Lankan odi side is a decent side,they are slightly above average and even rarely higher that that. Malinga is a good bowler(expect against your neighbours).If you take malinga off,i don think lankan side has any advantage over australian side in their bowling,infact aus will become a far experienced and skilled bowling side of the two. But wish to see malinga playing so that our youngsters get to play him which is useful for them considering the world cup plans ahead. This must be the best chance for lanka to win a few one dayers ,considering they are playing our b side. Have to wait and watch if our young guns go blazing against this lankan team.

Posted by Junikamra on (January 10, 2013, 7:24 GMT)

on paper srilanka looks a stronger team but don't forget that the team aus has selected is very talented nd they all are best domestic players.. 1st thing aus opener has do to survive the opening spell of malinga because he is deadly dangerous if aus batsman survive malinga i believe they can easily score 250.260 runs nd thn it will be a good contest between srilanka batsman nd aus bowlrz and if srilanka score 260.70 batting 1st thn it would be very hard for aus to chase.. Best of luck for aus team specially debutant FINCH,HUGHES nd USMAN..

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

Brad Haddin is back into the team and i hope he shows him self and Sri Lankans are bad at playing fast bowlers and lose their wickets.If thilkerathne and jawardhane and sangakara are out then there is the match

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

In Sha ALLAH Lasith Malinga Will Play a Big Role & Hopefully He Will Get the Man of the Series!! DC,LT & TP Are the Watchouts for me..

Posted by kohomban on (January 10, 2013, 6:40 GMT)

Australia's bowling lineup need like joe mennie ,he can bowling in death overs.Ausi's don't have good death bowlers.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 10, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

@Hyclass good to see you back on the comments mate. Agree with you on Khawaja that aggression will suit him well and alot of credit goes to boof for his success not only the longer formats but shorter formats too. Lewis i agree with you that its great to have Khawaja and Finch in the team but that won't take away the need to bring Warner in the team, he is a must for the shorter format. Our top 3 batsman are strong but so is their bowling attack so it should be a good game.

Posted by greatshinwari on (January 10, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

australia will definitely miss the fifth regular bowler..both hussy and maxwell are not capable of maintaing runrate below...the srilankans will target them...other wise the team is well balaced...all da best will be great match to watch...

Posted by hyclass on (January 10, 2013, 6:11 GMT)

There seems to be a lot of talk about Malinga's recent form in T20 and the threat he poses to the ODI side. In the recent rain affected 5 match ODI series in SL v NZ, SL won 3-0. In the three completed matches, Malinga bowled 23 overs and took 3 for 117. In other words, he played against the lower ranked NZ on his home pitches and took 3 wickets at an average of 39 and an economy rate of just over 5. ODI's offer the opportunity to play maidens or leave the ball. This under-rated facet of the game is unheard of in T20 and helps to explain Malinga's effectiveness and current form there.The new Aus players, while remaining observant,simply need to keep their nerve, forget the hype and play to their own strengths. A half volley or half tracker from Malinga is still a bad ball. His in-swinging yorker and short balls can be weapons, but batsmen at international level need to play the ball on merit, not reputation. I wish all the new players success. 37 degrees and SL will test them. Go Aus!

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 10, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

sri lanka has stronger bowling unit than australia as australia have to bowl out their 10 overs with part timers. that gives us an edge here.

Posted by Doonish on (January 10, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

Folks need to give up on the default bagging of Bailey. 441 runs in 2012, in 13 games at over 40, with a strike rate of just under 80 (largely in overseas matches) is more than enough to retain him in the squad.

I would have liked to see Cutting get a run too Meety, but I'm sure it won't be long.

Posted by Big-Dog on (January 10, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

Australia's bowling lineup is its weakness. Johnson is inconsistant. Starc is an unknown & McKay's form this season has been patchy. Doherty will give solid support but he's not a match winner by himself. Australia had better hope their batsmen fire.

Posted by hyclass on (January 10, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

Good to see the younger batsmen being given a well deserved opportunity in ODI cricket.Before CA seemed to lose its compass and worship all things 20/20, ODI was the format of choice for up and coming players. 50 over cricket is representative of most of the important elements of Test cricket in a way that 20/20 simply cant be. It allows the building of innings, needs a level of endurance and fitness,requires a certain amount of technique and concentration and gives the batsmen the opportunity to leave the ball-a vital skill at Test level.In years past, players like Khawaja and Hughes would have shown success in ODI's and the leap to Test cricket would have been easier. It also grants the opportunity to play more innings in a shorter space of time, taking pressure off individual innings. Khawaja has 3 x 50's in 5 list A games this year, his highest, 85 off 102 balls. His overall record is well below his best but he can clearly play and considered aggression will be his biggest asset.

Posted by disco_bob on (January 10, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

@jjazeel, upon analysis it is not that you disagree with my comment it is more that you try and inappropriately reverse my implied contention which is that Test cricket is what really matter. You simply imply that ODI and T20 is what really matters.

For Australia, England and SA, (at least in ODIs) all forms matter, and losing in one form is never mitigated, nor the disappointment mollified by success in a different form. Sub continent teams seem to lump the forms together, as long as they are good at one form, whatever it is, then that is good enough to prove their worth.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 10, 2013, 5:13 GMT)

I would imagine Australia should start favourites, I certainly prefer the Australian opening batsman combo over Sri lankas. Other than Malinga Sri lankas bowling looks pretty friendly for Australian conditions, the main issue for Australia would be to get 10 overs out of the part time spinners in Hussey and Maxwell. Maybe Finch can help out as well.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 10, 2013, 5:09 GMT)

Though I am a neutral observer, I think SL are slight favourites because of inexperiance of Australian top-order. Though the unknown factor might work in Australia's favour as well as all 3 (Hughes, Khawaja and Finch) are talented batsman. I just hope that the pitch has less bounce than the test match played here or otherwise Johnson would go on another finger breaking spree. He might be a very inconsistent fast bowler but on a bouncing wicket Mitchell Johnson is the most hostile bowler in the world.

Posted by KhanMitch on (January 10, 2013, 4:45 GMT)

Macca well said mate, congrats to all 3 of the debutants. I am also very excited to see Khawaja play, he has shown a facet of his game most folks were not aware of and has batted with alot of intend and aggession. @Matt.Hill i agree with you Maxwell should not be batting at 6 but they are trying to rush him in as an allrounder when he is not quiet there yet as there are better allrounders in the country.

Posted by MH19 on (January 10, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

This is our game for sure we love playing the aussies especially SL players raise their game to the top.SL should go 5-0 for humilation they had in the test series. This is the only way our crickerters can make the SL cricket fans happy and make them interested.

Posted by jjazeel on (January 10, 2013, 4:36 GMT)

@disco_bob - I disagree with your comment... Except for SA both ENG and Aus have a poor ODI and T20 record in the recent past...... The sub continent teams struggle to change their mindset from One day to Tests and in the same way teams like Aus and Eng struggle to shift from Tests to ODI and T20...SA is the only exception at present maintaining the standard in all formats

Posted by Meety on (January 10, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

@hmmmmm... on (January 10 2013, 02:24 AM GMT) - re: Bailey, you're right in T20s, but Bailey has been very good in ODIs. == == == Really ticked off that Cutting is not in the side. I really don't think that Starc & MJ are a good mix in the same side (too similar in many ways). Whereas Cutting is fairly different to McKay. I am reasonably happy with the rest of the side, but would of preferred Smith over Maxwell. == == == Very interested to see how Finch handles his debut. It will be hard work for him in a way - as he won't have an experienced ODI campaigner beside him & he will probably be facing up to Malinga. Good luck - I am hoping that he replaces Warner as a T20 opener.

Posted by 9ST9 on (January 10, 2013, 4:24 GMT)

The subcontinent have always treated tests with a negative attitude. Even the public - when the team is doing well in tests a bit of enthusiasm is there but it dies out very very quickly.

Posted by DiamondSoul on (January 10, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

I doubt whether the Oz Cricket Board hv underestimated abt the Sri Lankan ODI team as neither Clarke,Watson nor warner is playing.They are the Big guns in Oz squad.It myt be a future investment by giving the chance to upcommers.But the Oz Cricket board has to take the risk in it.I'm not telling this as i'm a sri lankan but everyone who see the team comparisons see that Sri lankan ODI team is much more stronger and experienced.And probably the Best ODI side by present.But never underestimate Finch and fellows they are made with masterclass the onlything they lack is experience.I do congrtulate them and hope a good competitive cricket

Posted by Narbavi on (January 10, 2013, 4:19 GMT)

No hussey no clarke, no warner, no watson, top 3 batsmen are going to make their debuts, just shows how well australia have used this whole lankan tour to experiment and test their bench strength!!

Posted by gnanzcupid on (January 10, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

This is really a contest between lanka and australia a or b side. Lanka should atleast use this opportunity to give a fight to the aussies. It will be so bad,humiliating and extremely shameful for the lankan fans if this australian side manages to win this series comfortably,hope the lankan players take this factor into account and try to give a fight. What makes this lankan team more strong is malinga who gives a teeth to this attack. I don think ajanta will work in aus,he is not a mystery bowler anymore.youngie dananjaya looks like a much better option that him considering dana can bat a bit. Sl looks the strongest in bowling department with mali but aus are not weak though. In batting i don see much difference between the two sides,with our side expected to better with the good advantage.

Posted by 9ST9 on (January 10, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

When Australia toured Sri Lanka in 2011, SL ransacked them in the two T20's and it was expected that SL will thrash the daylights out of Australia in the 5 match ODI series - but what happened was Sri Lanka had batting collapses on a frequent basis and ended up losing the series. Australia, even without their regulars have the potential to surprise much fancied opponents while at the same time SL too have the potential to surprise but in the opposite way - by playing brain-freeze cricket and losing to very modest oppositions.

Posted by Karnain on (January 10, 2013, 3:50 GMT)

SL must play at least 2 front line spinners despite what ever the pitch is considering the new look Australian batting lineup & Akila Dhananjaya must included in the first 11

Posted by nawaben on (January 10, 2013, 3:47 GMT)

In MCG, i don't see any threat from Jeevan or Dilshan or herath to batman. So it is better to use Akila Dananjaya and Mendis . My team and predict performances 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan: Runs - 15 or less, no use for bowling 2 Upul Tharanga: 40+ runs, poor fielding will add 10+ runs to aus total 3 Mahela Jayawardene (capt): 20 or less, his feet are becoming very lazy recently 4 Dinesh Chandimal (wk): 50+ runs 5 Lahiru Thirimanne: 50+ runs 6 Angelo Mathews: 30 - runs giving lot of pressure to other bating partner, 1 wicket, economical bowling 7 Thisara Perera: 20 + runs at a very good sticking rate - given the opportunity at the right time, he will perform well in bowling too 8 Lasith Malinga - as always good, but will not be economical as 20/20 9 Ajantha Mendis - will be a real treat to aus batman at MCG 10 Akila danjaya - Aus players will struggle to read him in the bouncy pitch 11 Nuwan Kulasekara / Lakmal :

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 3:45 GMT)

Australians are too thin in the paper, but I hope they may challenge Lions. But I don't know why Sri Lankans are going with Tharanga at the top. If Mahela opens it allows Thirimanne, Chandimal, Jeevan & Matthews to get ready for the 2015. I believe that tharanaga cannot hold his place untill then.

Posted by Nerk on (January 10, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

Congratulations to Finch. It is a call up well deserved and I hope that he does well. This is shaping up to be a real exciting series, cant wait to see Malinga and Johnson bowling insanely fast, Dilshan and Finch to be smacking sixes and George Bailey do whatever he is in the team to do.

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 10, 2013, 3:41 GMT)

finch is a dangerous batsman. He is equally good as warner. I dont understant why he wasnt included for the t20 world cup. Its important we get him out earlier. I have a feeling someone in this aussie squad will become a new Mike hussey(although no one can replace him).

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (January 10, 2013, 3:34 GMT)

Why not Karunaratne instead of Upul Tharanga? Upul is a good player, but Dimuth is in very good form. This is not a good decision.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

it is going to be a 3-2 victory for sri lanka....

Posted by hycIass on (January 10, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

Great decsion to have Hughes, Finch and Khawaja as the top 3, these guys have been the top 3 batsman in Ryobi and I am excited to see how they go against a strong Sri Lankan attack.

Posted by disco_bob on (January 10, 2013, 2:37 GMT)

I should add that neither England, SA or Australia ever consider that doing well in another format has any bearing on Test cricket. It seems to be a peculiarly sub continental malaise. I'd rather that if teams that Test redemption is possible with a T20 or ODI performance that they do the right thing and hand over their Test nation membership card.

Posted by rawr94 on (January 10, 2013, 2:30 GMT)

Australia's top three = 0 matches Sri Lanka's top 3 = 795 matches

Is this the biggest gap in matches between opposing top three's?

Posted by disco_bob on (January 10, 2013, 2:28 GMT)

The current problem with cricket is encapsulated in the headline for this article. Like India, 'redemption' for a sorry Test performance is not achieved on another format.

Posted by hmmmmm... on (January 10, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

Haddin should bat at 6, maxwell at 7...and what is bailey still doing there? He is the ODI/T20 Cowan - puts way too much pressure on others through his "ability" to get bogged down...he might survive but wickets fall around him in an attempt to keep teh runs ticking over. Surely Haddin or DHussey could captain and then a better bat added at 4.

Posted by selfie265 on (January 10, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

"The side has been picked with an eye towards the 2015 World Cup" I've heard this statement a few times from different sources now. Why then is Brad Haddin picked?

Posted by Heisenburg on (January 10, 2013, 2:08 GMT)

Doherty is hopeless, and why is smith back, drop them both please.

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 2:00 GMT)

The Aus batting lineup looks weak with Maxwell at No 6, and I would bat D.Hussey at No 4 and Bailey lower. I like the top 3, they are there on form - and considering Warner is being rested.

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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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