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Australia v Sri Lanka, 5th ODI, Hobart

Australia aim to salvage drawn series

The Preview by Brydon Coverdale

January 22, 2013

Comments: 48 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

Rain forced Sri Lanka's chase to be halted, before the match was eventually called off, Australia v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Sydney, January 20, 2013
The rain in Sydney prevented Sri Lanka pushing for a series win, but it also meant Australia will enter the final match with a drawn series their best possible result © Getty Images
Related Links
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

RSS Feeds: Brydon Coverdale

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety 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.

Posted by mjee 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.

Posted by Shamil_mansoor 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...

Posted by Humdingers 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!

Posted by David_Bofinger 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.

Posted by disco_bob 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.

Posted by Shaggy076 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.

Posted by   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

Posted by KanAloshFozter 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.

Posted by cricket12namal 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.

Posted by jerryman on (January 22, 2013, 15:14 GMT)

would love to see akila get a game.. maybe he shud replace tissara perera in the lineup.. if the wikt favors spin , he shud be in the playing x1

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (January 22, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

hi all ..australia won 4 tiems world cup.. still believe..ricky ponting wil do much better than jayavardane...

Posted by siri12345 on (January 22, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

I dont think it will be a clever decision to change the team from the last game .hobart i think is a small ground with a batting belter so we need batsman like jeevan and perera for some quick runs and hobart pitch i think will suit their style of play.but if we are provided with a minefield as in the test i think we should drop jeevan for eranga but considering its a odi game i think pitch will be flat.

Posted by siri12345 on (January 22, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

Best of luck srilanka.let us become the first team in history to win two series in aus and best of luck mahela for your last match as captain.

Posted by fazald on (January 22, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

Regarding the controversy about the abandonment of play in the ODI in Sydney it was Mahela Jayawardena who insisted the umpires to stop play though it was only a thin drizzle while Michael Clarke was determined to continue. It was very obvious that Mahela was banking on the weather gods and D/L to win the match whilst Clarke wanted to win the hard way by electing to bat first after winning the toss in overcast conditions with rain forcast. Mahela couldn't believe his luck over Clarke's decision and was still joking about it in the slips cordon with his team mates. If it was only a slight drizzle which lasted only 45 mins before play was abandoned as alleged by some Sri Lankan fans then play should have continued. But Mahela's plans were quite clear. Eventually the match was abandoned which according to the umpires was not fit for play. I think the ICC needs to look into this carefully and change the rules so that the team batting second don't abuse the system due to bad weather.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 13:50 GMT)

Khawaja must have really upset someone from high up in CA, like whose missus did he root? I just cannot believe the shabby treatment the selectors are giving to Khawaja and Mike Hussey. Its such a crappy unbalanced side. Clarke has never been a decent No 3, yet because the boofhead selectors won't admit their stupidity, as soon as an opener is gone, Clarke is walking into a position he could never handle. In the absence of Watson, Australia needs a decent No 3 and that is Khawaja. He has opened in the BBL, scored good runs in the Ryobi cup and doing OK (not flash but OK) in Shield. Khawaja has a hell of a lot more runs this season on a fast seaming Brisbane wicket than Dave Hussey who plays on the MCG road.

The latest justification is Australia needs a "finisher ala M. Hussey or Bevan). What are Wade, Johnston and Starc, Roadsigns? The Aus team above, drop Maxwell (Spinner??) and bring in Khawaja at No 3.

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 22, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

Come on Lions............

Posted by TrueLankan on (January 22, 2013, 12:29 GMT)

@Shaggy076 Also I have many memories ODI WC matches such as Australia vs SA in the famous 1999 semi final and I also remember how India were thumped by the Aussies especially Ricky Ponting in the 2003 WC so I'm not sure what your trying to prove there unless it is your poor memory. Australians may like Tests but they also like ODIs.But i agree that 20-20 is not real cricket but due to the 20-20 WC trophy it is important to do well in the format. I hope you understand where I'm coming from with all this.

Posted by TrueLankan on (January 22, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

@Shaggy076 : Read my comment properly next time mate. I have nothing against Tests. In fact I enjoy watching it more than 20-20s although ODIs are the format I'm more interested in. Tests however are irrelevant UNLESS there is a Test Championship. ICC have announced it for 2017 but its too late. However, doing well in 20-20 is much more important due to the WC next year since winning WCs are full of glory.

Posted by PhaniBhaskar24 on (January 22, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Srilanka Middle order is not exposed during this series...most of the time, they are in..the scores are almost settled even when it is i would like to see Aus Bowl first & see through couple of early wickets, which would give them a serious possibility of result in their favor

Posted by mjee on (January 22, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

Shaggy076 with all those wonderful memories you have with test cricket, I am sure you remember the spanking received courtesy of the South African team his summer. You would also recall that Australia are behind South Africa and England in test cricket. Good luck in India and England...

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 22, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

@Gilly4ever like you i don't think it makes sense to play both Henriques and Maxwell together.Khawaja has to be picked as the replacemnt or Finch if they don't go for Khawaja. The last thing the Aussies need for this game is another unproven, under-performing all-rounder in Maxwell. The bowlers haven't been the issue all series, so let them do their job, and concentrate on picking a BATSMAN to do the batting, rather than replacing the best bastman in the world with a guy who can face a couple of overs, and maybe roll his arm over a bit as well. We can't rely on Starc and Doherty to try and save them from embarrassment three times in one week.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 22, 2013, 10:46 GMT)

Kuruwita - You may be wise to wait to see if you win the series before making that comment. Yes it is our weakest one-day side for sometime - what would it say if we drew the series.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 22, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

TrueLankan - Im sorry you feel that way. Test cricket is the ultimate cricket skill and is a battle over 5 days. The ultimate team will always come out on top, one-day cricket is completely different. I would have thought close to 100% of Australian cricketers and fans would agree with this. We won three world cups in succession but you know what I can barely remember the games but I can remember Ashes victories, victories in test matches in South Africa, the first time knocking of the Windies. In my opinion it is the ultimate form of cricket and a world cup of test cricket would only cheapen it. Its too bad you cant see the beauty of test cricket or is that just because Sri Lanka are crap at it. The Australian one-day record aint too bad over that period and we were only recently passed by Sri Lanka. YOu have been in front of us in the rankings for all of week and now your claiming superiority. Come the World Cup the Australian team wil be ready.

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (January 22, 2013, 10:28 GMT)

I like Mahela to rest and Anjelo to captain the team tomorrow to see how thing go. get all younger players an opportunity. Lalith - Sydney

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (January 22, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

I like that Kumar got injured giving the opportunities to young Batsman. I think 3 SL senior batsmen, Dilshan, Kumar and Mahela should rotate so that only 2 will play. This will give Lahiru, Karunarathne(where is he hiding??) Chandi, Kushal more opportunities. I also like to see Akila Eranga gets opportunities.

Lalith - Sydney

Posted by LALITHKURUWITA on (January 22, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Hogg said that weakest fast bowling side that he has seen that came to Australia to play TETS cricket. I totally agree with it. On the other hand this Aus ODI team is the weakest team for about 20 years. I do not think Aus will have any chance in the next World Cup.

Posted by Master_Mihil on (January 22, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

I think introducing Akhila is not the best thing right now. If we bat first we need to bat deep. From what i faintly remember akhila was a walking wicket. And we have been playing all these time without our best batsman sangakkara. Remarkable!! Future of our team looks set. We got the talent.. now it's all upto execution..of skills and game plans..

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (January 22, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Some attractive, hard fought cricket from both sides in this series. Kula has been a star and the development of Thirimanne, Chandimal etc mean SL's cricket future is bright and that SL will always be welcomed in Aus.

Thanks also to the trolls visiting Cricinfo. Too much time spent in cold, dark, damp rooms in cold, dark damp English winters will inevitably breed peculiar life forms. Greetings from sunny Aus and thanks for the time and energy devoted to creating wonderful side-show curiosity and amusement.

Posted by TrueLankan on (January 22, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

@RoJayao and ANYONE ELSE : What is the point of Tests when there is no tournament to win other than a meaningless series. Until a Test Championship is introduced fully as a proper tournament then Test series' mean nothing. However doing well in 20-20 and ODIs are important especially due to the Champions trophy in 5 months time, the World Cup in Australia in 2 years time and the 20-20 world cup next year. Nothing against Tests but this is the series that matters most by a far distance in the current situation. Your just upset that Australia have been pathetic in the ODIs for the last 6 years.

Posted by mysay on (January 22, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Jeevan should play as it's a spin friendly track, if he is dropped then rather than a pacey they should bring in Akila Dhananjaya as he's an unknown breed. This is known to be a slow track and given the Sri Lankan poor form in the batting line up, they should aim to keep Aussie at a minimum, with spin options available in the plenty. If Kulasekara is able to gain swing come tomorrow, then Aussies can kiss levelling the series goodbye.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (January 22, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Moises Henriques is simply not performing and while his inclusion may be with an eye on the future, based on his performances in the Champion's League presumably, at present he doesn't deserve a spot. Glenn Maxwell hasn't done enough at international level to warrant another call up either. I'd be thinking Michael Hussey for sure and why not give Usman Khawaja a shot, as a specialist batsman. Matthew Wade batting at 5 is far too high and Henriques and Maxwell are simply being carried, in their current form.

Posted by disco_bob on (January 22, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

Let's not get carried away, after being demolished in the Test match series, Sri Lanka have only one convincing win in the ODI series, one dodgy chase and one match that was a convincing loss.

Posted by JesseV on (January 22, 2013, 7:04 GMT)

I would have loved Australia to bring in another batsmen as cover for Clarke. Either Usman or Cal Ferguson. I think we really need one more batsmen rather than another alrounder, no matter how talented Maxwell or Henriques are.

Posted by RoJayao on (January 22, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

Yeah truelankan, ODI wins and feeble T20 wins will definitely make up the 3 nil THRASHING SL copped in the tests!

Posted by landl47 on (January 22, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

The possible line-up for Aus must be the weakest batting line-up on paper that they have fielded for many years. Maybe they can defy the statistics and get together enough runs to win. At least the bowling looks strong, especially at Bellerive.

SL's batting is also nothing to write home about and we could be seeing a low-scoring game here.

Without Clarke in the line-up, SL has to be favoured going in. Please note, I've got every game but one wrong in the series so far!

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (January 22, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

In form Hughes and Khawaja is great for our team, both need to be in the team long term in order for us to rebuild. I predict Hughes will get a big one tomorrow and it will be fantastic if Khawaja is called in. Dont' see David Hussey scoring if the ball is swinging around but if its a flat track then he will have a field day.

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 22, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

bring eranga into the side and attack the aussie batsmen with swing bowling from both ends. they can drop either jeeven or thissara from the team for eranga. Since they havent done anything in this series so far.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 22, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

Our top order is the key, would be great if Khawaja is called in if Clarke is unfit to play as he is a very good player against the swing bowling. If we go wth Maxwell then i fear another collapse tomorrow.

Posted by Shehan_W on (January 22, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

The decision of Sri Lankan selectors to drop Upul Tharanga (who has scored 12 ODI centuries) to give a space for Jeewan Mendis in the starting XI in the Sydney ODI is a real surprise. Jeewan Mendis is doing nothing to the team. If Jeewan Mendis is not going to bowl in these matches then surely they should play experienced Tharanga who is miles ahead of Mendis as a batsman. Although Tharanga is having a bad patch, he still managed to score some valuable runs in the Brisbane ODI where most of the top order batsman failed to score double figures. On the other-hand Jeevan's performance in that match was a real shame.

Posted by Htc-Android on (January 22, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

We need to make sure that we break the starc and doherty partnership. So far thats the hardest partnership for us to break.

Posted by Mitty2 on (January 22, 2013, 6:19 GMT)

There was an uproar when wade batted at 6 in the Sydney test.. Now he's at 5.. I just can't say it enough, unless you have allrounders the class of kallis or Watson (Just one dayers) odi teams should be 5-1-5. For instance, our best possible team would be: 1 warner 2 Hughes 3 Clarke 4 Bailey 5khawja 6 wade 7 starc 8 Johnson 9 McKay 10 cutting/faulkner 11 Doherty. What is the point in having players who won't take wickets, be expensive and won't score runs ie. Maxwell and smith. Henriques is more talented then both but does not have the recent form to warrant selection. The batting in my XI is relatively thin, but atleast they prioritize and specialize in batting. Hussey has lost my faith not because a supposed inability against swing, (very good record in English conditions). but because of his recent form and his tendency to only prosper once a good start has been made. And this is why bailey must bat at 4, with Clarke at 3. And If Maxwell replaces Clarke.. I hope we get annihilated.

Posted by   on (January 22, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

I think Aussies will relish playing in Hobart. But Lanka should spring a surprise, and suggest at least for this game bring Akila who can be the surprise weapon to make it 3-1. Should have him in place of Jeevan who is off color. Let Kusal keep wickets

Posted by RiznyF on (January 22, 2013, 6:17 GMT)

Lanka's winning this series if they play the same team. Another blunder lanka could make is by fiddling with this team.

Posted by Rdaga90 on (January 22, 2013, 6:14 GMT)

Lankans have shown the Australians they are real champs.

Posted by TrueLankan on (January 22, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

I am always nervous about Mahela opening since I prefer him in the middle order at no.5 to guide the youngsters and play a 20-20 style game in the end. If openers go out early Chandimal, Lahiru or Kushal need to step up which will be a big ask. Although we were robbed of a 4-1 win I will be happy with a 3-1 nonetheless but need to back it up with 2-0 in the 20-20.

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (January 22, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

hope fully sir jayawardane will make his highest score of tournament..curently his highest score in 4 mathc is 5...and total score is 10 ... and avarage is again 5... A TOP CLASS SRILANKAN BATSMAN !!! lucky sanga ..your absolutely lucky by smartly pulling out of one day series

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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.
Mahela Jayawardene | Murali | Malinga
Mahela Jayawardene

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