Ponting to miss opening ODI with Sri Lanka

Melbourne: Skipper Ricky Ponting said Tuesday he will miss Australia`s opening one-day international against Sri Lanka at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to attend a family funeral.

Ponting said he would travel to his home town of Launceston in Tasmania for his grandmother`s funeral following her death at the weekend.

Michael Clarke will lead the Australian team in Ponting`s absence in Wednesday`s ODI.

"I will be flying out tomorrow morning to attend the funeral and then flying straight back to the ground tomorrow afternoon," Ponting told reporters.

"I wanted to be here yesterday and today to maximise my time around the team and get my preparation right for the coming games."

Ponting said Australia were yet to finalise their team for the opening match of the three-game series against Sri Lanka because of uncertainty over the weather.

Showers have been forecast for Wednesday`s day-night game.

But Ponting confirmed that Tasmanian spinner Xavier Doherty would make his international one-day debut in the match.

Australia need to find form ahead of the opening Brisbane Ashes Test against England on November 25, having lost their last five international games.

Sri Lanka thrashed Australia by seven wickets in a Twenty20 match in Perth on Sunday.

It was Australia`s first home defeat in 11 T20 matches.

Bureau Report