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Australian Cricket: Sri Lanka v Australia 1st ODI preview

Australia began their tour of Sri Lanka in top form by winning the T20 series 2-1 and now their attention turns to the five One Day Internationals, the first of which is played on Tuesday.

After wrapping up the T20 series with relative ease Australia will now look to keep the good times rolling in the ODI series which will comprise of five matches to played over a 10-day spell.

The series will present the Aussies with a chance to get some much needed ODI action under their belt after being starved of games over the last couple of years.

Australia did not play a single ODI on home soil last season and have played just the two series against the West Indies and Pakistan since the end of 2020. So it is fair to say that some practice is needed.

The ODI World Cup takes place in India in October and November of 2023 so the series will be used by both sides to get in some good early preparation.

It is the first time in almost 18 months that Australia have got all their star ODI players together, only Adam Zampa is missing due to paternity leave.
What: Sri Lanka v Australia, First One Day International

Where: Kandy

When: 7pm (AEST) Tuesday 14th June, 2022

How to watch: Fox Sports

Odds: Sri Lanka 5/2  Australia 3/10

Coaching shake-up

Much has changed in Australian cricket since the end of the Ashes series with England as Justin Langer has been replaced as coach with Andrew McDonald taking over on a full-time basis.

Assistant coach Michael Di Venuto is also board and led the side when McDonald missed the start of the Sri Lanka tour through sickness.

Former Australia and Victoria seamer Clint McKay and spin coach Sri Sriram are also involved for the white-ball format of the game.

The new regime have got off to a solid start but are in need of a good ODI series against Sri Lanka after losing to Pakistan earlier this year.

On that occasion Australia took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series after winning the opening match by 88 runs, only for Pakistan to come back and win the next two.

It is still very early days of course. But following the controversial departure of Langer the Australian coaching set up is under the microscope and any negative results will be picked apart. With that in mind anything other than a series win in Sri Lanka will be seen as a failure.

Injury concerns

Preparations for the opening clash in Kandy have been hampered by a crippling injury list that has robbed McDonald of key players.

Star all-rounder Mitch Marsh is on the sidelines with a calf injury, while paceman Mitchell Starc is set to miss at least the first ODI after suffering a cut finger in the final T20 clash.

Sean Abbott is also ruled out with a broken finger and Kane Richardson is the latest player to be added to the injury list with a hamstring injury.

Richardson suffered the injury in the third T20 clash and scans have since revealed the full extent of the damage. He is looking at six weeks on the sidelines.

The Aussies have called up Ashes hero Scott Boland as cover for Richardson but he is unlikely to play unless there are other injuries.

Pace attack the key for Australia

Australia are set to rely on their tried and tested pace attack in the opening ODI encounter, with captain Aaron Finch confirming they will not go with two spinners on the Kandy pitch - that tactic could change when they head to Colombo.

With that in mind Ashton Agar will take on spin-bowling duties and can be supported by Glenn Maxwell and Marnus Labuschagne.

So pace will be the key in the opening two ODIs in Kandy. Despite injuries Australia still boast a strong looking attack. It has been bolstered by the return of Test captain Pat Cummins for starters.

Cummins, who is priced at 3/1 to be the top Aussie bowler, is fit and firing after recovering from a long-standing hip issue and will lead the attack. He has not played an ODI since November 2020, but will be key to Australia's chances of winning the 2023 World Cup.

WA pacer Jhye Richardson and Josh Hazlewood are also in the side and complete the seam attack.

Captain under pressure

There is going to be plenty of pressure on white-ball captain Finch heading into the series and he will need to score some big runs to silence the critics and doubters.

Runs have been hard to come by for Finch, but he appears to be in good touch following the T20 series and will be looking to carry that into the ODI's.

Finch smashed 61 runs in the opening T20 clash and chipped in with 24 runs in the second, forming a strong opening partnership with David Warner. Those two will again be key to Australia's chances of doing well.

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