Australia drops Tri-Nation ODIs from calendar

Cricket Australia dropped the three- nation one-day series from its international calendar and will instead host two separate five-match series in the 2008-09 season.

Head-to-head contests against South Africa beginning Jan. 16 and New Zealand starting Feb. 1 will replace the tri-series, which was staged for the first time in 1979-80. India beat Australia in this year's finals. Sri Lanka were the third participant.

The revamp means Australia's world champion team will take part in every match of the limited-overs series. The previous format had been criticized for throwing up too many games that were of limited interest to local fans and broadcasters.

Cricket fans now have ``the first-hand opportunity to see their Australian heroes in action every time they attend or tune in to an Australian summer one-day international,'' James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

In elite five-day Tests, top-ranked Australia will play two matches against New Zealand before taking on South Africa in a best-of-three contest.

Australia will also play three Twenty20 internationals -- two against South Africa and one against the Black Caps.

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