Australia will stick to the team formula that won them the World Cup for Tuesday’s first T20 International against Sri Lanka, opting to pick three pacemen with the expectation conditions will suit them.
Ashton Agar and Kane Richardson both earnt nods for the sold-out series opener in Colombo, with Pat Cummins (resting) and Adam Zampa (at home for the birth of his first child) the two absences from the XI that won the world title in Dubai last year.
Captain Aaron Finch suggested Josh Inglis was an unfortunate omission for the match at the R. Premadasa Stadium, where tropical rain looks to have juiced up a greener-than-expected pitch.
Finch said selectors considered partnering Agar with a second spinner in Mitchell Swepson but heavy wet-season rain on the island has meant the typically dry subcontinental conditions the Aussies have become accustomed to have not materialized.
Australia XI for first T20I v Sri Lanka: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood
“There was a temptation there (to play two spinners) but having seen the conditions over the last couple of days, the square is quite green, there’s been a lot of rain around and the outfield is quite heavy,” Finch told reporters on Monday .
“Expecting there to be a bit of spin there but it might be a tacky sort of spin. It’s not a dry square, it’s not a dry surface by any stretch.
“There hasn’t been a huge amount of cricket here and with it being the wet season, the wickets are under covers a lot more than what they generally would.
– Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) June 5, 2022
“If Sri Lanka had their preference, it’d probably be on the drier side. But they’ve (had) a fantastic fast bowling attack over the last couple of years, led by (Dushmantha) Chameera.”
Richardson beat out his namesake Jhye and fellow quick Sean Abbott for Cummins’ spot, while Agar takes the lead spin duties with Zampa out. Allrounders Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis will make up the balance of the fifth bowler’s overs.
Marsh, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith are all back after missing recent T20 matches against Sri Lanka at home in February and a one-off match against Pakistan in April, as are quicks Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
An unused squad member at last year’s World Cup when he was picked despite not having an international cap to his name, Inglis has since performed strongly with the T20 side.
The wicketkeeper, playing as a specialist batter with Wade taking the gloves, made his debut in February against Sri Lanka and averages 36 with a strike-rate of 146 from six T20Is batting in the middle order.
Finch flagged an ODI debut for him later in the tour was on the cards.
“He’s so close, he’s really stiff,” Finch said of Inglis’ omission.
“Every chance he’s had, he’s taken with both hands. He’s a super talented young payer. He’s shown his ability to float throughout the order in international cricket and domestic cricket.
“He’ll definitely get an opportunity with the quick back-ups between the three T20s and then the five ODIs being really congested. There will be an opportunity for Josh at some point. He’s made every post a winner.”
Finch was not overly concerned with the sodden outfield at the Colombo ground, Sri Lanka’s largest stadium which has sold out for the first two T20Is on back-to-back evenings.
The Aussies practiced range hitting on the main arena on Sunday and left a series of deep indents on the ground where balls plugged in the damp grass.
“I reckon there will be quite a lot of sun over the next 24 hours, so that will dry it out,” Finch said.
“But it will definitely be on the slower side compared to what we’re used to in these parts of the world, where they’re usually lightning-fast outfields.
“This will be a little bit more of a running game, I think the boundaries will be pushed back slightly. It will come down to using our smarts, using our ability to manipulate the ball into gaps and running hard.”
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
Sri Lanka T20 squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwanshaek The Mendana, Ramehana Mathahara, Sowanhhara Mathahara, Nuwanhahara, Thusesh , Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan. Standby: Jeffrey Vandersay, Niroshan Dickwella
Australia T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade
June 7: First T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST
June 8: Second T20, Colombo, 11.30pm AEST
June 11: Third T20, Kandy, 11.30pm AEST
Sri Lanka ODI squad (provisional): Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ashen Bandara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Janith Liyanage, Dunithalage, Dhananjaya Wellachu Lakshan, Sahanmi Chak Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: First ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST
June 16: Second ODI, Kandy, 7pm AEST
June 19: Third ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo, 7pm AEST
Sri Lanka Test squad (provisional): Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran La Fernando, Dils Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan
Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 29 – July 3: First Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
July 8-12: Second Test, Galle, 2.30pm AEST
All Sri Lanka v Australia international fixtures will be screened live on Fox Cricket and Kayo Sports
Australia A fixtures
Squad: Sean Abbott, Scott Boland, Pete Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
June 8: First one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
June 10: Second one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
June 14-17: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota
June 21-24: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota