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Debuting ODI players earned place on pitch against Sri Lanka

Aaron Finch of Australia looks on during an Australian cricket team training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 10, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Aaron Finch of Australia looks on during an Australian cricket team training session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 10, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Scott Barbour / Getty Images

AUSTRALIAN selectors will hope their three debutant batsmen don't get stage fright at the MCG today.

Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja are the rookies in the firing line in the one-day international against Sri Lanka.

Victorian Finch and Test No.3 Hughes opened the batting, while Queensland Bulls left-hander Khawaja will bat at three.

Captain George Bailey, who has just 13 ODIs to his name and will be in charge for the first time, will come in at four followed by David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell and Brad Haddin.

Pacemen Mitch Johnson, Clint McKay, Mitch Starc and Xavier Doherty, the specialist spinner, complete the line-up in the first of the five-game series.

Steve Smith and Queensland quick Ben Cutting will be 12th and 13th men, but Bailey hinted the pair might get a 'crack' at playing in the second match in Adelaide on Sunday.

Bailey said the uncapped top three had all earned their chance to play.

"They fully deserve it. Their domestic form has been really strong and they all have outstanding games for international cricket," Bailey said.

"I am looking forward to seeing how they go."

Bailey also played down the 'second string' label attached to his side, with Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner and Mike Hussey all out of the squad.

"It's still the Australian cricket team, isn't it? I'm sure Sri Lanka won't be taking it as the Australia B team," he said.

"There's no doubt there's one eye on different tours coming up this year, and also on the World Cup in 2015, but I think if these guys perform really well, what you could see is the core of the Australian side come 2015."

Australia may have made a clean sweep of the recent three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, including an innings and 201 runs hammering at today's venue, but the Sri Lankans are a different team in this format.

Their line-up also includes arguably the best limited overs paceman in the world, Lasith Malinga, and if his form during the current Bash League is anything to go on, the Australian debutants will face a baptism of fire.

 

Team

George Bailey (capt)

Aaron Finch

Phil Hughes

Usman Khawaja

David Hussey

Glenn Maxwell

Brad Haddin

Clint McKay

Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Starc

Xavier Doherty

Steve Smith (12th man)

Topics:  australia cricket mcg odi one-day international phil hughes sri lanka usman khawaja


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