The wait is nearly over.
Six months since the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars last featured in a one-day international, Meg Lanning and her team will return to action today as the World Champions take on Sri Lanka in Dambulla.
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Here’s all the important info to get you up to speed for the short and sharp tour of the island nation.
The series begins with the opening one-day international – just the fourth 50-over clash between the two nations – before getting stuck into the three ICC Championship matches.
Those encounters all come with reserve days in case the weather plays a significant role.
Quick Single: Chilled out Harris finds her groove
The limited-overs tour comes to a close back in Colombo when the sides square-off in the game’s shortest format.
- First ODI: Rangiri Dambulla Stadium, 18 September at 2:20pm AEST
- Second ODI*: Rangiri Dambulla Stadium, 20 September at 2:20pm AEST
- Third ODI*: R. Premadasa Stadium, 23 September at 2:20pm AEST
- Fourth ODI*: R. Premadasa Stadium, 25 September at 2:20pm AEST
- T20: SSC Ground, 27 September at 6:30pm AEST
*ICC Championship matches
Australia enter the series with a number of key players making their way back from injury, including speedster Megan Schutt and allrounder Jess Jonassen.
Star duo Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry appear to have shaken off niggles and are set to feature prominently throughout the five matches.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka have been dealt a blow before a ball has even been bowled with captain Shashikala Siriwardene ruled out through injury. Batter Chamari Atapattu will instead take the reins.
Australia: Meg Lanning (captain), Alex Blackwell (vice-captain), Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Erin Osborne, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani.
Sri Lanka: Chamari Atapattu (c), Prasadini Weerakkody (vc), Dilani Manodara, Nipuni Hansika, Chamari Polgampola, Eshani Lokusuriyage, Udeshika Prabodhani, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandika Kumari, Achini Kulasooriya, Inoshi Fernando, Imalka Mendis, Ama Kanchana, Harshitha Madhavi.
Australia (most recent game last): WLWWWWLLWW
The reigning world champions enter the series as heavy favourites, but India and New Zealand proved earlier this year that the Australians are far from invincible.
Sri Lanka (most recent game last): LLLLLLLLLL
Sri Lanka will have to produce something quite incredible to knock off the tourists, having lost their past 10 ODI matches and never tasting success against Australia at international level.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Sri Lanka 131 (Deepika Rasangika 43, Erin Osborne 3-9) defeated by Australia 1-132 (Rachael Haynes 71) by nine wickets with 166 balls to spare in Mumbai.
Sri Lanka were simply no match for the Australians in their last ODI meeting, a Super Six clash at the 2013 World Cup in India.
Off-spinner Erin Osborne did the bulk of the damage by claiming the remarkable figures of 3-9 from her 10 overs to restrict the Sri Lankans to 131.
The Stars made light work of the run chase as Meg Lanning produced a quickfire 37, while fellow opener Rachael Haynes and No.3 Jess Cameron finished the job in the 23rd over unbeaten on 71 and 22 respectively.
3-282 – The highest score in the three previous ODIs between these two nations came in December 2000 when Belinda Clark won the toss and elected to bat. Australia cruised to a 200-run victory in the World Cup clash in New Zealand.
154no – That same match also featured the highest individual score between the two sides, as Australian champion Karen Rolton launched an unbeaten 154 from 140 deliveries.
3-5 – The best bowling figures in Sri Lanka-Australia encounters belongs to another great of the game in Shelley Nitschke. A superb six-over spell helped skittle the Sri Lankans for just 57 in Pretoria.
With the second, third, and fourth ODIs all featuring ICC Championship points up for grabs, the series will have extra importance to both sides.
Australia currently sit on top of the table with 24 points from their 15 matches played in the two-year cycle, while Sri Lanka are down the bottom in eighth spot with five points by their side. One win in the island nation will guarantee the Stars’ place in next year’s World Cup in England, while the hosts are simply looking to build momentum for the second-chance qualifying.
WHAT THEY SAID
"We’ve been waiting a long time to play again. The World Cup seems a very long time ago. We’re absolutely chomping at the bit to get out there and play. Matches that count are what this team really lives for." – Australia coach Matthew Mott.
"The Australian players are physically stronger than us and they can go for big hits whenever needed, but we are confident that our spinners will try and keep them under the 200-run mark as much as possible." – Sri Lanka skipper Chamari Atapattu
HOW TO FOLLOW
Unfortunately, there’s no TV coverage or live streaming for this particular series, but fans can stay up-to-date with regular scores and info on Twitter at @SouthernStars, while cricket.com.au will have reports and video highlights from every match throughout the tour.