Ricky Ponting will not take part in the third one-day international against Sri Lanka in Brisbane, and will instead travel to Hobart to prepare for Tasmania's Sheffield Shield game against Queensland in order to fit in as much first-class cricket as possible ahead of the first Ashes Test against England on November 25.
"As the series against Sri Lanka has been decided the National Selection Panel has an ideal opportunity to provide Ricky with two solid weeks of red-ball cricket," said Greg Chappell, who sits on the panel. "This allows him what we believe to be the best preparation to lead the Australian Test match team in Brisbane for the first Ashes Test match."
Australia lost the second ODI in Sydney by 29 runs to hand Sri Lanka their first ever series win on Australian soil, and have now lost seven successive matches across all three formats. Ponting admitted that "all departments are a little bit wanting at the moment", but insisted that the team remained upbeat ahead of what is sure to be a challenging summer.
"There is a good feeling around the group," he said. "We had a good chat after the game in Melbourne and we talked about areas of our game we had to improve on and unfortunately we haven't done that as well as we would have liked tonight. We are just far enough off to be losing games of cricket at the moment. We have had seven games in a row now where we have had opportunities to win games and we haven't got there.
Ponting refused to use the hype surrounding the Ashes as a reason for Australia's poor form, adding: "You can't use that as an excuse. We have known for a long time about this series and how important it was for us to play well here leading into the Ashes and we haven't done that over the last two games. We have the chance now in Brisbane to get things back on track and a bit of state cricket after that.
"We have to start winning games, it's really important to have that attitude and feeling of winning games around the dressing room and we haven't done that for a while now. It's about time we got back to playing the brand of cricket we know we are capable of and if we do that I am sure we will win some games."