Sri Lanka chase elusive win, take on Australia

Sri Lanka's sprightly cricketers will look to end their winless streak when they take on an Australia sans talismanic skipper Michael Clarke in the tri-series one-dayer here tomorrow.

Lying at the bottom of the points table, the closest Sri Lanka got to a win in the series was the nerve-wrecking tie against India in their last match.

But the islanders, unpaid for the past several months by their Board, have shown the stomach for a fight and they might just get the elusive win to show for the hard work so far when they take on Australia, which will have an old guard in Ricky Ponting as captain.

With Clarke out nursing a hamstring strain and the selectors not too confident about vice-captain David Warner, Ponting has been handed the job he quit last year.

"I want to make it very clear this is Michael Clarke's team that I'm just stepping up to look after for a couple of days," Ponting said.

"Everyone knows my appointment's been made for hopefully only Friday. Hopefully Michael comes up for Sunday's game (in Brisbane), so really this is just about taking over Michael's team and leading the team well and hopefully getting the result the team's after," he added.

Australia goes into the match on the back of a narrow four-wicket loss to India in their previous match.

The biggest concern to emerge from the defeat was the top-order failure.

The flamboyant Warner's fireworks didn't last long enough and the gamble to push Ponting to the opener's slot didn't work either.

With Clarke out, Ponting's form would be all the more crucial in tomorrow's match even though Michael Hussey's return will bolster the line-up.

It was left to debutant Peter Forrest and David Hussey to rescue the innings in Adelaide but once they departed, the Aussies failed to build on the foundation they had laid.

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