Australia captain Ricky Ponting will miss the first one-day international against Sri Lanka to attend his grandmother's funeral in Tasmania.
His deputy Michael Clarke will take the reins in Melbourne on Wednesday but Ponting will return for the final two games of the series, in Sydney on Friday and Brisbane on Sunday - Australia's last preparation before the Ashes.
"I will be flying out tomorrow morning to attend the funeral and then flying straight back to the ground tomorrow afternoon," Ponting confirmed on Tuesday.
"I wanted to be here yesterday and today to maximise my time around the team and get my preparation right for the coming games."
Australia head into the series on a five-game losing streak in all formats, a run Ponting is keen to arrest.
"If you look at it that way (dating back to July) then it seems like a long time, but it's only a few games really," he said.
"And, I think to be fair, we've played well in each one of those games to the point where we probably should have won that first Test match in India, we didn't (India won by one wicket).
"We were very competitive in the second Test match in India without getting across the line as well. There's no sugar coating anything, we know we've got some work to do and we know we haven't played one-day cricket for a little while.
"We want to turn around our fortunes and I think it's really important to start getting that winning feeling back again."
Australia are set to hand a debut to Tasmania spinner Xavier Doherty at the MCG.
Doherty, an orthodox left-armer, finished with figures of 7-145 in his most recent Sheffield Shield outing and Ponting feels the time is right for his fellow Launceston native to make the step up.
"He's had a few very good years hasn't he?" said Ponting.
"There's no doubt that he's probably been the best performed spinner in the shorter forms of the game and he's become a match winner for Tassie in that period of time. A boy from Launceston, the same as me.
"It's a great reward for someone like him who's put in the hard yards for a long time, to finally get an opportunity."
The Australian selectors opted to send first-choice spinner Nathan Hauritz back to state side New South Wakes for their Shield clash with Queensland to give him more practice in the game's longer format ahead of the Ashes.
Mike Hussey looks set to retain his place despite a disappointing outing at domestic level.
Hussey made a first ball duck and three in Western Australia's Shield draw with South Australia.
"He was a bit disappointed with it," said Ponting. "I don't think it was the bowling in the first innings so much that got him out.
"It sounded like he hit a cut shot to a bloke in the covers.
"He's very clear in his own mind about what he needs to do and he feels he's on the right track and his preparation has been very good for each game that he's played.
"Class players like him generally find a way to get it done and I'm sure in the next few one-day games against Sri Lanka we'll see him score some runs."
Sri Lanka are looking to build on their seven-wicket victory in the one-off Twenty20 international in Perth last Sunday.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara was giving little away in relation to his team's starting line-up but did confirm Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga will open the batting.
Austalia (from): M Clarke (capt), X Doherty, B Haddin (wkt), J Hastings, M Hussey, M Johnson, S Marsh, C McKay, P Siddle, S Smith, M Starc, S Watson, C White
Sri Lanka (from): K Sangakkara (capt, wkt), M Jayawardene (vice-capt), D Chandimal (wkt), T Dilshan, D Fernando, S Randiv, C Kapugedera, N Kulasekara, L Malinga, A Mathews, J Mendis, M Muralitharan, T Perera, D Prasad, C Silva, U Tharanga