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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Reinforcements arrive for Aussies after ‘reality check’ – The Morning

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  • Mitch Marsh has joined Australia’s injury ward, but the depleted bowling attack has received a boost ahead of the five one-dayers 

Reinforcements for a depleted Australian bowling attack, which received a “reality check” in the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) last Saturday (11) in Kandy, have now arrived. That is for the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series starting tomorrow (14) in Pallekele.

The touring Australia squad had suffered their third injury in the space of a week.

After missing the third T20I with a calf strain, Mitch Marsh will also miss at least the first two ODIs of a series that runs through 11 days, reported Cricket Australia yesterday (12). 

Cummins, Green, Labuschagne in

Marsh joins Mitchell Starc who sliced his finger during bowling in the first T20I on 7 June at the R. Premadasa Stadium. Yet Starc is expected to return during the back end of the ODI series at the earliest.

Sean Abbott has gone home with a broken finger as another casualty during the opening stages of the all-format Australia tour.

Boosting the pace bowling stocks for the 50-over games are Test Captain Pat Cummins and all-rounder Cameron Green, while Marnus Labuschagne is the other addition from outside the Australian T20I squad. 

Australia bowling depth tested

The trio will train in Kandy today (13) morning, but Travis Head has remained with the Australia “A” squad ahead of their two four-day games in Hambantota starting tomorrow (14). The two “A” teams’ two-match one-day series was squared at 1-1 on Friday (10) in Colombo. 

Jhye and Kane Richardson, who were both expensive in Sri Lanka’s remarkable victory on Saturday, have also been kept on after neither were initially selected for the ODIs.

Australia’s overall bowling depth is being tested given lead bowler Adam Zampa is absent due to the birth of his first child.

Another spinner

It could open the door for Mitchell Swepson, who made his ODI debut in Pakistan earlier this year, to play alongside fellow spinner Ashton Agar.

“We’re missing a couple of ‘Mitches’ there but I think Pat will come back in,” said Josh Hazlewood, speaking about the T20Is, on Cricket.com.au.

“We’ll have a look at the wicket, maybe (bring in) another spinner, who knows.”

Great hitting

Australia were measured in their reaction to Dasun Shanaka’s almost single-handed effort to score the 59 runs Sri Lanka required from the final three overs of the third T20I.

The pace trio of Hazlewood, Jhye, and Kane Richardson all came in for punishment on Saturday.

“From Shanaka it was some great hitting,” said Hazlewood after the 2-1 series win.

They thought game was won

“We nailed a few balls and they went to the boundary, and we bowled a few change-ups and they weren’t quite right either. Everything just seemed to hit the middle of the bat there at the end.

“Everyone is calm out there. You play the over back in your head and you’d change a few things… there are no major concerns, maybe just a bit of a reality check.”

Meanwhile Marcus Stoinis has admitted the Aussies may have thought the game was won.

One of the best knocks

“Maybe we got a little bit ahead of the game and ahead of ourselves there for a second,” said Stoinis on Saturday’s third T20I.

“But (17) overs went really well and that’s what happens in T20 cricket. Someone plays one of the best innings they’ll play for their career, and hats off.”

Good for Sri Lankan cricket

On the vociferous Pallekele crowd that had chanted “Aussies, Aussies” as they posed for photos with the series silverware, Stoinis added: “It was a brilliant atmosphere. I hate losing and I think I speak for everyone in the (dressing) room when I say that we hate losing.

“But that was a brilliant innings. It was great for the crowd. The crowd was nuts and it is good for Sri Lankan cricket as well.”

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