Adelaide: Former skipper Ricky Ponting has emerged as the frontrunner to lead Australia in the absence of injured Michael Clarke, in Friday's tri-series clash against Sri Lanka.

Clarke has been ruled out of the match due to a hamstring injury he sustained during the side's four-wicket loss to India here on Sunday, and that could force the selectors to return to Ponting.

While the most likely scenario is Ponting temporarily taking over the role he quit in March last year, Michael Hussey and David Warner have also been mentioned as possible alternatives, according to reports in the Australian media.

Warner has been Australia's vice-captain during the tri-series but the general feeling is that he is considered too inexperienced to be handed the top job.

The selectors are expected to hold a teleconference before announcing the squad for Friday's game and the next lot of matches.

"Australian captain Michael Clarke has been ruled out of the one-dayer against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) due to a grade one hamstring strain," Cricket Australia had said in a statement.

Clarke sustained the injury while fielding during the loss to India, at the Adelaide Oval. He is however hoping to be fit for Australia's match against India in Brisbane on Sunday.

(Agencies)