There will be a glut of ODIs over the next nine months as FTP and Super League commitments are completed before the cut-off date. Australia have been particularly light on in the 50-over game since the pandemic; they did not play a single match at home last season and have had just two series [against West Indies and Pakistan] since late 2020.
Sri Lanka have named a 21-player squad, which may seem a touch excessive for a home series but at least means they can tick the all-bases-covered box. Their ODI cricket remains inconsistent and they are currently outside the automatic-qualification zone in the Super League. They have won their last two series, at home against South Africa and Zimbabwe, but have dropped what could be vital games in both. This will be the first ODI series under new coach Chris Silverwood.
(last five matches, most recent first)
Sri Lanka WLWWL
In the spotlight
19-year-old Dunith Wellalage, a left-arm spinner who bats pretty well, seems likely to debut on Tuesday, joining a spin attack that comprises Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana. This means Chamika Karunaratne is likely to be the second seam option behind Dushmantha Chameera.
Sri Lanka have a few options on the wicketkeeper-batter front. They could keep Mendis in place, though he wasn’t particularly effective with the bat in the T20Is. Charith Asalanka will likely move down to his familiar No. 5 position in ODIs. Word from captain Dasun Shanaka is that they will keep the six batters, two allrounders, three bowlers combination from the ODIs. Bowling-wise, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera and Maheesh Theekshana are pretty much certain to play.
Sri Lanka (possible) 1 Danushka Gunathilaka, 2 Pathum Nissanka, 3 Kusal Mendis (wk), 4 Bhanuka Rajapaksa, 5 Charith Asalanka, 6 Dasun Shanaka, 7 Wanindu Hasaranga, 8 Chamika Karunaratne, 9 Dunith Wellalage, 10 Dushmantha Chameera, 11 Maheesh Theekshana
Australia’s injury list is growing with Kane Richardson the latest casualty. Jhye Richardson has been preferred ahead of a second frontline spinner in Mitchell Swepson. Finch said they were keen to use Alex Carey at No. 5 to provide another left-handed option in the middle order.
Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Steven Smith, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Alex Carey (wk), 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Ashton Agar, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Jhye Richardson, 11, Josh Hazlewood
Pitch and conditions
Although the last T20I became a reasonably high-scoring game, there were also times when both sides struggled with the bat. The day-time element to the ODIs could be a factor. In the Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe series earlier in the year that was held entirely in Pallekele, the opening match saw Sri Lanka chase down 297 reasonably comfortably before Zimbabwe defended 302 and were then bundled out for 70. There is a chance of storms interrupting play.
Stats and trivia
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo