AUSTRALIAN captain Michael Clarke has been ruled out of Wednesday's fifth and final ODI clash with Sri Lanka in Hobart having failed to recover from an ankle injury sustained in training on Tuesday.
Clarke's loss will be keenly felt by an Australian team led by Tasmania's George Bailey and desperate for a win that would see them salvage a 2-2 draw from the rain-affected one-day series.
Mahela Jayawardene won his last toss in charge of the Sri Lankan team and sent Australia in to bat in perfect conditions for cricket at Blundstone Arena and on a pitch that looks conducive to run scoring.
The veteran opener will hand over the reins following this match and will look to steer his side through the run chase under lights later today.
For the home side, Glenn Maxwell has been drafted in to cover Clarke's absence, the inclusion of another all-rounder putting added pressure on Australia's top order to rediscover the form that saw them dominate the first match of the series with a huge first-innings total.
Bailey might have to lead team with Clarke in doubt for ODI
AUSTRALIAN vice-captain George Bailey stood in for Michael Clarke at the captain's pre-game press conference in Hobart yesterday.
The Tasmanian batsman could find himself doing the job again in today's must-win one day international against Sri Lanka if Clarke is ruled a non-starter after he twisted his ankle during training yesterday.
Sri Lanka lead the five-match series 2-1 after game four in Sydney was washed out on Sunday, and they cannot afford not to have Clarke in the line-up.
If Clarke fails to play, that means Bailey will captain Australia for the first time on his home ground, Bellerive.
Bailey said Clarke had suffered the injury in a regulation warm-up fielding drill before he was carried from the ground.
Clarke, who was rested from the first two games in the series, was then taken for a scan.
"Obviously he'll be given right up to the toss yo prove he's right to go," Bailey said.
"Hopefully that scan will be clear and there will obviously be a little bit of pain but if he's 100 per cent he'll be right to play."
With no other specialist batsmen in the 13-man squad, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell may replace Clarke, unless selectors decide to fly in another batsman, most likely Usman Khawaja.
"Once again I'm not entirely sure yet, no doubt the selectors will sort all that out," Bailey said.
"Hopefully the scan comes back clear and best case scenario Pup still plays."
- Michael Clarke (c)
- George Bailey
- Ben Cutting
- Xavier Doherty
- Moises Henriques
- Phillip Hughes
- David Hussey
- Mitch Johnson
- Glenn Maxwell
- Clint McKay
- Mitch Starc
- Matthew Wade
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