Australia v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, Brisbane January 17, 2013

Australia's A-team back in action


Match facts

January 18, Gabba
Start time 1320 (0320 GMT)

Big Picture

The A-team is back. There's Michael "Hannibal" Clarke, who loves it when a plan comes together. There's David "B.A" Warner, the muscles of the operation. There's Matthew "Howling Mad" Wade, who had every right to be after Ian Healy's stinging criticism last week. The only one still missing is Shane "Faceman" Watson. Perhaps he's off with that intrepid reporter who was always hanging around the group. What was her name? Amy Allen? Or was it Lee Furlong? Whatever the case, John Inverarity and his selection panel had a problem. No one else could help. So he found them and hired them for the next two games, and no more are Australia relying on the B-team.

George Bailey's side was excellent in the first match in Melbourne but extremely disappointing in Adelaide on Sunday. Australia enter this third ODI with the series level at 1-1 and Clarke back at first drop; their leading run scorer over the past year, Warner, at the top of the order again; and Wade back behind the stumps. It brings the Australian outfit much closer to what would be their first-choice side if all players were fit and available, that mythical "best XI" that Inverarity says the selectors know, yet Australian fans are unlikely to see anytime soon.

In Watson's absence, the selectors decided a seam-bowling allrounder was required at the Gabba and Moises Henriques was called up for his first ODI since late 2009 but after being struck on the hand at training twice over the past two days, he was sent for scans and could be forced to sit out. "He's certainly got his fingers crossed and hoping the scan comes back clear, as we all are, because I know he's looking forward to his opportunity," Clarke said of Henriques. "He got hit yesterday when bowling. I actually straight-drove one back and he got his finger on it so it was a little bit sore but fine. Then while batting in the nets today he got hit again."

Sri Lanka's challenge is to ensure the Adelaide game was not a one-off. Their seamers moved the ball around at Adelaide Oval and while the Gabba has a reputation for providing assistance as well, it is also a venue at which big totals are regularly accumulated in one-day cricket. Sri Lanka have never beaten Australia in a one-day international at the Gabba, and going 2-1 down in a five-match contest would be far from ideal.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
Australia LWWLW
Sri Lanka WLWWW

In the spotlight

Matthew Wade is back after being rested from the first two matches and during his time off, his wicketkeeping was severely criticised by Ian Healy during a radio interview. The fact that Brad Haddin made runs and kept sharply, including one especially stunning catch, during the first two ODIs will only intensify the attention on Wade's glovework during his return.

It was at the Gabba last summer that Lahiru Thirimanne was at the centre of controversy when he was mankaded by R Ashwin in a one-day international, only to be recalled by India's acting captain Virender Sehwag. Fortunately for Thirimanne, he has attracted attention on the current tour of Australia only for his run-making, which included 91 in the Sydney Test and a maiden ODI century in Adelaide on Sunday. Thirimanne is a fine stroke-maker and with Kumar Sangakkara unavailable due to injury, he is quickly becoming one of the most prized wickets for Australia's bowlers on this tour.

Team news

If Henriques is ruled out it will mean Ben Cutting and Glenn Maxwell will vie for his place. The fact that the selectors specifically wanted an extra seamer, though, suggests they would likely choose Cutting, who was originally not part of the squad for this game, but may yet get the chance to play an international at his home ground.

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

Dinesh Chandimal remains in some doubt after missing Sunday's match due to a hamstring problem. If he is declared fit, the selectors could bring him back in a straight swap for the wicketkeeper Kushal Perera, although another option would be to drop the out-of-form opener Upul Tharanga.

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

Pitch and conditions

The weather forecast indicates a fine and sunny day with a high temperature of 33C. There should be plenty of runs available on a good batting pitch. In the past three ODIs at the Gabba, the teams batting first have scored 288, 289 and 321. "In my opinion this is the best one-day wicket in the world," Clarke said on the eve of the match. "It has beautiful pace and bounce for the bowlers, but as you get in as a batter there's no better place to bat."

Stats and trivia

  • Australia have won their past six ODIs at the Gabba; Sri Lanka have won two of the 13 ODIs they have played there
  • Ajantha Mendis needs two victims to reach 100 ODI wickets and if he reaches the milestone during this series he will be the quickest Sri Lankan to the mark
  • If Henriques plays, it will mean a gap of 79 ODIs between appearances for him; during that three-year period Australia have used 43 other players in one-day internationals


"The break has been great for my body. It has given me every chance to have a lot of rehab in regards to my hamstring. It has given me a week off mentally as well, to refresh."
Michael Clarke

"We have to look forward to winning all three games. We have clicked at the right point so it's a good positive for the whole team."
Angelo Mathews

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 18, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Look Like A team is Lot better than getting bowled out cheaply than B team.

  • udendra on January 18, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    by 'A' team, do you mean the 'average' team?

  • Chris on January 18, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    mat "wailing sad" wade needs to harden up, last time i looked ian healy is a channel nine commentator employed for expert OPINION about cricket particularly wicketkeeping. pretty sure his job discription does not include protecting the feelings of underachieving rookies and cetainly doesn't include clearing every interview with them

  • David on January 18, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    To be honest I see another strong possibility of a problem emerging here because of the rotation thing. Now we effectively have had three very different teams for three games. As a team, how can that promote consistency and team harmony? Surely these players are now beginning to feel like employees, like workmen shipped on and off an oil rig every few weeks. This is my main contention when science is over-done: it turns people into robots, because of the things that cannot be measured lose value, or are completely denied. And it is the things that cannot be measured that are the most important, and not just on the cricket field. Some of the puppet masters need to loosen the strings a bit here, before we completely ruin the Australian cricket team. The other thing is that as individuals players are losing match readiness. Let's see if Warner, Clarke and co can get moving today. If they can't we will be 2-1 down, thanks to rotation... um, I mean 'informed player management'.

  • D on January 18, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    My SL team.


    Drop Tharanga or lose again.

  • Hiran on January 18, 2013, 1:00 GMT

    Honestly we should not underestimate any team.

  • Chapati on January 18, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    ajantha mendis is no longer an effective bowler his tricks are all but known and aussie pitches are all but useless

  • hayden on January 18, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    would rather see coulter-nile tried ahead of henriques as other posts have said his form isnt too crash hot! in regards to australia wearing green at home, i believe its because the commonwealth bank logo is also yellow so it stands out better if aus are in green. vb still sponser the away tours so yellow is still fine to wear for those matches.

  • Chapati on January 17, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    SL are a good team but we all know the outcome if AUS wins the toss. SL should get extra 5 overs if they bat second.

  • Shyarmal on January 17, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    BuHaaa..Haaaaa...Haaaaaaa....:D :D :D who cares whether it's Aussie A team or B team? Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews hold the highest run partnership for the 9th wicket in an ODI: 132 runs, against Australia in Melbourne in 2010. Malinga scored 56 Runs from 48 balls including six fours and two sixes; Mathews scored 77 runs off 84 deliveries including eight fours and one six and won the match. This is with Aussie A++ team . BuHaaa..Haaaaa...Haaaaaaa... :D :D :D