Hobart, Feb 23: The tri-series enters a new territory in Hobart and it is also a fresh start in the tournament for Australia as they begin life without batting stalwart Ricky Ponting. On Friday, at the Bellerive Oval, the hosts will face Sri Lanka, who have bounced back strongly and are on the upswing as far as their form is concerned.
Australia will be hoping to move on from the axing episode of Ponting and they are boosted by the return of vice captain Shane Watson.
The all-rounder, who missed cricketing action due to injury, will be eager to find touch in his first game for so many months. He might come into playing XI at the expense of another all-rounder, Daniel Christian.
The outcome of this match on Friday will be very important for India. If Sri Lanka manage to down the hosts, they will be in a good position to put pressure on India.
India have two more matches to play while Australia and Sri Lanka have three each.
Australia are on top of the table with 14 points followed by Sri Lanka (11) and India (10).
Mahela Jayawardene-led Sri Lankans have notched two wins in a row and are in a confident mood.
"After the last couple of games we came back strongly into the tournament so the challenge is to try and be consistent, play the way we've been playing, and make sure we handle certain situations better than the opposition. We've been quite happy with the progress of the team," said Jayawardene.
Australia are still not settled as an unit and they will welcome back skipper Michael Clarke who missed two games due to a hamstring problem.
If Australia win on Friday they are certain to go through to the best-of-three finals in the first week of March.
Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice captain), David Warner, Peter Forrest, Dan Christian, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris, Xavier Doherty, Clint McKay, Brett Lee.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Farveez Maharoof, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Chanaka Welegedera, Dhammika Prasad.
Umpires: Billy Bowden (New Zealand) and Bruce Oxenford (Australia)
Third Umpire: Simon Fry (Australia)
Match Referee: Chris Broad (England)
Match starts at 8.50 AM IST
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