Lankans aim to stop Aussies for semis berth

Posted by Dresonic on April 16, 2007

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) – Sri Lanka will aim to halt Australia’s juggernaut and secure their semi-final spot when the two teams meet in their Cricket World Cup, Super 8 match today at the National Stadium here.

After losing their opening second round match to South Africa, Sri Lanka have rattled off three successive wins but meet an Australian team who are unbeaten in the tournament and who have become increasingly ruthless as the competition has worn on.

Sri Lanka’s Chaminda Vaas (left) bowls in the nets yesterday ahead of today’s Super Eight Cricket World Cup match against Australia in St George’s, Grenada. (Photo: AP)

Sri Lanka’s Australian coach Tom Moody told reporters yesterday that his side would be gunning for full points against the Aussies but would be sticking to their natural style of cricket.
“From our personal point of view it would be great to win tomorrow (today) and continue the momentum that we have had so far in this tournament,” Moody told reporters.

“We [will] concentrate on our brand of cricket and don’t try to chase Australia’s style. They play a unique style which has been successful and admired by all the cricketing world.
“But what has made Sri Lanka successful is concentrating on our brand of cricket and that’s what we’ll be bringing to the game tomorrow.”

He continued: “Australia is playing a power game at the moment. They have got a very, very strong batting line-up that’s led at the front with Hayden and Gilchrist who play a power game up front. Most teams, if at all, have one player that plays that role, they have a couple.
“They also have the depth of fast bowling and with Watson fit, [they have] the all-round option in the middle order so the way they are playing their cricket is slightly different from Sri Lanka and most other teams.”

Fast bowler Lasith Malinga, one of the tournament’s leading wicket-takers, will sit out his second successive match as Sri Lanka’s team management are not yet ready to risk the right-armer after recently recovering from an ankle injury.
Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting acknowledged Sri Lanka’s deadly bowling attack and said the key to winning would be to avoid losing early wickets.

“There are a few [match winning bowlers]. (Chaminda) Vaas is a class player and has been a great bowler for them for a long time,” Ponting said.
“What they have done – both Malinga and Vaas throughout this tournament – is take early wickets. They have had opposition teams a couple down pretty early on and that makes Murali (Mutthiah Muralitharan) more effective through the middle of the innings.

“So obviously our plan will be to get through the new ball as well as we can and hopefully not lose too many wickets against the new ball, keep wickets in hand for the middle part of the game which is when they are going to slow things down with their spinners both (Sanath) Jayasuriya and Murali and probably (Tillekeratne) Dilshan.

“That’s what we are sort of planning for so if we can do that well tomorrow, give ourselves some wickets in hand against the spinners, then we can be a lot more aggressive against them.”
Australia, who confirmed their position in the final four with a ruthless nine-wicket win over Ireland Friday, will be without Shane Watson who has not yet fully recovered from a calf injury.
The match will be the first of two games here for Australia as they face New Zealand in their final second round match Friday.

TEAMS (from):

AUSTRALIA – Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge, Nathan Bracken, Shaun Tait, Glenn McGrath, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson.
SRI LANKA – Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Malinga Bandara, Farveez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekera.


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