Australia sticks with quicks for Sri Lanka T20 opener

Australia have recalled fast bowler Kane Richardson for Tuesday’s T20 series opener against Sri Lanka and stuck with the three-pronged pace formula that won them their first World Cup last year.

Richardson was selected ahead of namesake Jhye Richardson to replace rested Pat Cummins and join Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood in the attack in Colombo.

Captain Aaron Finch said selectors had considered picking second spinner Mitchell Swepson to partner Ashton Agar but went with pace after seeing the pitch.

“It’s not a dry surface by any stretch,” Finch told reporters on Monday. “There hasn’t been a huge amount of cricket here, and with it being the wet season the wickets are under covers a lot more.”

All-rounders Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell, along with batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith, have been recalled after missing home matches against Sri Lanka in February and a one-off match against Pakistan in April.

Smith’s place in the team is under scrutiny, with classy wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis waiting in the wings.

Finch backed Smith to continue his floating role as a “Mr Fix-it” in the order while conceding that Inglis was unlucky to miss out.

“He’ll definitely get an opportunity,” Finch said of Inglis, citing the quick turnaround between the three T20s and then the five one-day internationals.

Australia, who will defend their T20 World Cup title on home soil in four months, start the series without head coach Andrew McDonald on site after his positive test for COVID-19.

However, Finch said he has had plenty of contact with McDonald.

“A lot of that (coaching) is done pre-tour,” said Finch.

“But I have spoken to him a lot about how we’re going to structure the team and how we want it to look over the next couple of months leading into that World Cup.”


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