Jump for joy … Thisara Perera celebrates the wicket of Steven Smith in Adelaide on Sunday. Sri Lanka went on to win by eight wickets to square the series 1-1. Photo: Getty Images
A HAMSTRING injury to Brad Haddin has complicated Australia's wicketkeeping plans just as the veteran demonstrated the value of his experience to a rookie team that was taken apart by Sri Lanka on Sunday night.
Sri Lankan batsman Lahiru Thirimanne brought up his century and the winning runs all at once to level the series at Adelaide Oval.
Cricket fans tuning in to Sri Lanka's slow but successful run-chase could have been forgiven for shouting, ''bowler's name?'' and wondering why Phillip Hughes was dressed up as a wicketkeeper.
Horror debut ... Kane Richardson was removed from the attack for encroachment on to the pitch. Photo: AP
The answer to the second question is that Haddin, who was filling in for the rested Matthew Wade, pulled a hamstring while composing the half-century that gave Australia's threadbare attack a modest total of 170 to defend.
Coach and selector Mickey Arthur has voiced his desire for Haddin to keep the pressure on the incumbent Wade, whose glovework has been criticised by Ian Healy.
But Haddin, who hurt his hamstring running between the wickets towards the end of his innings of 50 from 67 balls, was hobbling so badly by the 21st over of Sri Lanka's innings that he was forced to leave the field.
A significant injury could keep him out of NSW's next Sheffield Shield game, from January 24. The selectors expect to send two wicketkeepers to the Ashes and had also been toying with the idea of sending a second gloveman to India, with the Test squad leaving early next month.
Clint McKay led a bowling attack comprising debutant quicks Kane Richardson and Ben Cutting, spinner Xavier Doherty and part-timers Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell.
They were powerless to stop the Sri Lankans, who kept wickets in hand after losing Upul Tharanga in the first over, from chewing up the runs with 59 balls remaining.
Australia's problems were compounded when Richardson committed the ultimate rookie mistake and was removed from the attack for repeatedly running on the pitch in his follow-through.
The 21-year-old South Australian was otherwise impressive, bowling six tight and zippy overs for 0-15.
Tillakaratne Dilshan made an uncharacteristically slow half-century, his 51 coming from 88 balls. He gave Cutting his first international wicket with a catch to point.
George Bailey's Australians thought they had shaken the unwanted ''B-team'' tag with a 107-run win at the MCG but it came back to haunt them in Adelaide. The silver lining, if there is one, is that rested reinforcements are available in the form of captain Michael Clarke, opener David Warner and Wade.
Sri Lanka's smart seamers unpicked Australia's inexperienced batting order in damp conditions at Adelaide Oval, where the home team struggled to 170 in 46.5 overs largely on the strength of Haddin's half-century. Australia slumped to 6-83 in the 25th over before Haddin dug in with Cutting, a composed and forceful batsman, for a 57-run partnership.
Haddin's experience was valuable in tricky conditions and his innings was a testament to his patience, though he cut loose to hit Thisara Perera for a sweet six. Cutting and Richardson fell to consecutive balls from Lasith Malinga, while McKay was the victim of a surprise decision by the third umpire to overturn a ''not out'' verdict using DRS.
The Sri Lankans appealed for caught behind and asked for a review when the plea was turned down. The technology, including Hot Spot, provided no compelling evidence of an edge but third umpire Richard Kettleborough must have seen something because McKay was given out.
■ NSW Breakers claimed an eighth successive Women's National League title at the SCG in a rain-affected, six-wicket victory over Queensland Fire on Sunday. Set 233 for victory, NSW were 4-135 after 27 overs when rain fell. NSW were handed victory via the Duckworth/Lewis method.