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Australia chase morale-boosting win

By The Assam Tribune

MELBOURNE, Nov 2 (AFP): Skipper Ricky Ponting said it was time to end Australia�s losing streak when the home side takes on Sri Lanka in the first of three one-day internationals in Melbourne tomorrow.

The Australians are in a form slump ahead of the opening Brisbane Ashes Test against England on November 25, having lost their last five international games.

Sri Lanka thrashed Australia by seven wickets in the latest Twenty20 match in Perth on Sunday, which was Australia�s first home defeat in 11 T20 matches.

The time for talking was over for the Australians, Ponting said today.

�There�s no sugar-coating anything, we know we have some work to do, and we haven�t played one-day cricket for a little while,� he said.

�There�s no doubt it�s always a different feel around the changerooms when you are winning games of cricket and we have to start that off pretty soon, hopefully that�s tomorrow.�

But the Australians will have to negotiate a much-needed win against Sri Lanka without Ponting.

He said he will miss the first one-day international to attend a family funeral in his home town of Launceston in Tasmania on the day of the match.

Michael Clarke will lead the Australian team in Ponting�s absence in tomorrow�s ODI.

�I will be flying out tomorrow morning to attend the funeral and then flying straight back to the ground tomorrow afternoon,� Ponting told reporters.

�I wanted to be here yesterday and today to maximise my time around the team and get my preparation right for the coming games.�

Ponting said inclement weather meant Australia would wait until the morning of the match to finalise their lineup for the day-nighter.

Tasmanian spinner Xavier Doherty is expected to make his one-day international debut.

Ponting also backed struggling senior batsman Mike Hussey to regain form for the Ashes and backed him to stay in the one-day side.

Hussey is high on a series of problems for Australia ahead of the first Ashes Test after making a golden duck and three in Western Australia�s Sheffield Shield match at Adelaide Oval over the weekend.

�Unfortunately for him he�s missed out twice, but I�ve had a good chat to him today, he�s very clear in his own mind about what he needs to do and he feels he�s on the right track,� Ponting said.

�His preparation has been good for every game that he�s played � class players like him generally find a way to get it done � and I�m sure that over the next few one-day games against Sri Lanka, you�ll see him score some runs.�

Squads (12th men to be named): Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Xavier Doherty, Brad Haddin, John Hastings, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Clint McKay, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Chamara Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dammika Prasad, Upul Tharanga.

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