Adam Gilchrist, who returns after a two-game spell, will take over the captaincy with Michael Hussey promoted to the vice-captaincy.
Hodge, who belted a match-winning century against New South Wales in the Twenty20 Big Bash final, toured New Zealand for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy but was replaced by Damien Martyn for Australia’s first four matches of the VB Series National Selection Panel chairman Trevor Hohns said selectors would continue to manage the workload of senior players throughout the summer.
“We feel that Ricky Ponting needs and deserves a break. He has played every match for Australia in all forms of the game for the past 10 months, and we think this is the right time for him to allow his body to rest,” said Hohns, who also announced that the sqaud will now be selected on a game-by-game basis.
“Brad Hodge is a logical replacement to bat at number three. He played exceptionally well during the Twenty20 match on the weekend and was a successful replacement for Damien Martyn in the middle order for the Chappell-Hadlee Series in New Zealand last month.”
Ponting said it had already been a long summer and the time was right for him to freshen up in the lead-up to the final part of the VB Series. “These rests have been done before and we have found that when the guys have a chance to have a break, the results indicate that it is good for them.”
Aussies warming up for VB
Australain captain Ricky Ponting says his side is still warming up in the VB Series, after it lost to Sri Lanka at the SCG by 52 runs on Sunday. Australia has now just two of its four matches in the VB Series, but remains on top of the series table with 10 points, one ahead of Sri Lanka, while South Africa has four.
Despite leading the series, Ponting says his players still have many areas they can improve. “We’ve got a few areas to address obviously,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve hit anywhere near top gear in this one-day series and top order batting was a bit disappointing, so we head to Adelaide now and hopefully we can rectify things down there.”
Sanath Jayasuriya guided Sri Lanka to victory with a stunning 114 from 96 balls, which helped his side to 7-309 from 50 overs. The target was too great for Australia, with the home side dismissed off the last ball for 258.
Sri Lankan captain Marvan Atapattu was particularly happy with the performance of his batsman. “If he scores more than 40 runs Sri Lanka wins 75 per cent of the games,” Atapattu said of Jayasuriya. “It is nice to win against the number one team in the world.”
Upcoming VB Series matches —
– South Africa v Sri Lanka, Tue 24 Jan, Adelaide
– Australia v Sri Lanka, Thu 26 Jan, Adelaide
– Australia v Sri Lanka, Sun 29 Jan, WACA
– South Africa v Sri Lanka, Tue 31 Jan, WACA