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Lanka look for fresh start Oz ODIs

Sri Lanka are banking on the return of slinging paceman Lasith Malinga to give them a fresh start in the one-day series against Australia, starting in Melbourne on Friday. The explosive Malinga, whose unusual ‘slingshot’ action makes him difficult to face, was keenly missed by Sri Lanka in their three-Test mauling by the Australians as he concentrated on the shorter forms of the game.

In missing the Tests, he became one of the standout bowlers in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash League with the Melbourne Stars. Sri Lanka go into the series opener reinvigorated by the addition of Akila Dananjaya, Upul Tharanga and Ajantha Mendis along with Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera, who have been playing in the Big Bash League. Sri Lanka will be encouraged by their ODI record in Australia, with four wins in seven matches last year, while they claimed their first-ever series win in Australia 2-1 in 2010.

The Lions have also won their past three ODIs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, boosting their confidence ahead of the five-match series after the 3-0 battering they received from Michael Clarke's team in the recent Tests.

Selectors have rested Test men Clarke, Matthew Wade and David Warner from the two opening ODIs, and are fielding debutants in their top three batting spots in Melbourne, Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja. T20 skipper George Bailey will lead the side in Clarke's absence as he strives to fully recover from a hamstring strain, while Brad Haddin takes over the wicketkeeping gloves from Wade.
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