Callum Fergsuon will join Australia's one-day international squad ahead of Friday's second match in Sydney after Shaun Marsh was ruled out due to a back injury. Marsh made 31 in Australia's one-wicket loss at the MCG on Wednesday, but he did not take the field at all during Sri Lanka's innings and will miss the remaining two games in the series.
"Shaun Marsh injured his lower back in the latter part of his batting innings yesterday against Sri Lanka," the team physio Alex Kountouris said. "With the short turnaround between games in this series it was decided that the best management of this injury is to withdraw him from the remaining two games to allow him time to recover. His return to cricket will be based on his recovery over the next few days."
Marsh has had back troubles before, and a similar problem sidelined him for Australia's one-day tour of New Zealand earlier this year. His latest niggle has opened the door for Ferguson, who was in the ODI squad in India last month but did not play a game, and is still waiting for his first appearance in Australian colours since seriously injuring his knee in the Champions Trophy final in October 2009.
"Callum has been in extremely good form of late for South Australia in interstate cricket and has a very good one-day international record for Australia, averaging 46 with the bat, so we know he can perform well on a big stage," the chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, said. Ferguson was due to link up with the squad in Sydney on Thursday, but his chances of playing on Friday are slim.
Ricky Ponting will be back in the side having missed Wednesday's game to attend his grandmother's funeral, and Marsh would have been the likely man to make way for Ponting. The Australians haven't got much time to turn around their form after losing a match they should have won comfortably at the MCG, and the coach Tim Nielsen said the players had a frank discussion after Sri Lanka's triumph.
"The most important thing is that we don't run away from it, we identify the things we're doing well and maybe not so well," Nielsen said on the Melbourne radio station SEN. "We had a chat about that as a group last night, while it was very fresh and hitting pretty hard. Rather than just walk away and say 'we got close', we sat down and were pretty honest with each other about how we're going and what we're doing.
"We just have to make sure that we don't panic. There's going to be a lot of speculation, there's going to be a lot of theories and rumours and ideas on how we can get better. We just can't afford to keep doing the same things like we did last night. We kept bowling bouncers that were chest high rather than head high, we bowled a few wides, we bowled a few slower balls that we didn't land properly, and we didn't really do anything out of the ordinary or different to what we'd been doing all night."