SL vs AUS – ODI – Pallekele

Australia’s injury woes have deepened on the tour of Sri Lanka with Marcus Stoinis ruled out of the remainder of the ODI series with a side strain while Ashton Agar‘s future on the trip remains doubtful with a similar problem.

Travis Head and the uncapped left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann have been called up from the ongoing Australia A four-day match against Sri Lanka A in Hambantota ahead of the second ODI in Pallekele on Thursday.

If Agar, who will remain with the tour for now, is ruled out him out of the Test squad, Kuhnemann could see himself elevated to join Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson. There remains an outside chance that Australia will consider three frontline spinners for the matches in Galle.

Australia have amassed a growing list of injuries in the early stages of the tour. Mitchell Starc is still recovering from the badly cut finger he suffered in the first T20I and Mitchell Marsh (calf) is currently unavailable.

Kane Richardson, who himself had been added to the ODI squad as cover, was ruled out of the series with a hamstring strain suffered in the final T20I. Allrounder Sean Abbott picked up a broken finger early in the tour.

Cameron Green is also not being considered as a bowling option for at least the first two ODIs as he builds up his workload.

While this ODI series is being viewed as useful preparation for next year’s World Cup, with it not carrying any Super League qualifying points, the major focus is the two Test matches which conclude the tour.

Australia are wary of overloading the Test quicks during the one-day series which sees five matches in 11 days but resources are now being severely stretched.

“We’ll try our best not for that to happen,” Test captain Pat Cummins, who is back in action after resting a hip problem, said. “The planning was going to be for perfect preparation.

“We have the Aussie A team over here with a big squad. There’s always going to be some things that crop up, so it’s not ideal with the amount of injuries that have happened, but we’ll strike that balance.

“The Test matches are certainly front of mind even in this [one-day] series, so I don’t think much will change from what I’m going do this series.”

Australia have at least been able to utilise the presence of the A squad in the country at the same with the lifting of most Covid restrictions making it easier to bring players in and out. Scott Boland had previously been brought across into the main touring party to reinforce the ODI squad.

The national selectors will assess the need for further reinforcements before the Tests as the one-day series continues.

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