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Friday, 24 February 2012






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Lankans confident of sweeping Aussies aside

The Sri Lankan cricketers who swept aside the Indians at the Gabba in Brisbane, aim to do the same to the Australians when they meet at the picturesque Bellerive Oval, in a Commonwealth Bank Tri series game under lights, here today.

The Lankans have not taken it easy after that victory. They have been hard at practice here, and have put right the little chinks that were apparent in Brisbane, where the catching was to say the least poor.

Sri Lanka’s most successful batsman in the series Dinesh Chandimal who dropped two regulation catches, was seen being put through catching drill by fielding coach Ruwan Kalpage.

Winning combination

The Lankans will not want to tamper with the winning combination and will go in with same team that brought them victory against Australia and India.

In Sri Lanka’s batting line up the only worry has been the sudden loss of form of Kumar Sangakkara. For a batsman of his class, he has not got into the big run making act that he is famous for. Maybe this

is the game that has been waiting for. His scores have been 26, 22,3,30 and 8.

In the previous Test series played on this ground he was unfortunate to miss a double hundred, being cruelly ruled out when he did not hit the ball attempting to hook Brett Lee.

Winning habit

Now that the Lankans have got back their winning habit, it is crucial that they win this game in their endeavour to win the Commonwealth Bank Trophy by playing in the best of three finals early next month.

At the moment the Lankans are third, just behind India with the Aussies on top of the points table.

While the batsmen and bowlers have obliged, it is the fielding, especially the poor catching that is worrying. Missed catches do not necessarily mean losing, but it can make winning that much more difficult and this was proved in the two previous games.

The wicket looks a dry one and winning the toss and batting could be an advantage. There won’t be any moisture on the wicket, because the game starts late in the afternoon.

Wicket looks dry

The wicket looks likely to carry a little bounce early and it would be interesting to see who will want to have first go.

Again a strong start from openers Mahela Jayawardena and Tillakaratne Dilshan is a must for the batsmen following to build on and run up a score that could demoralise the Aussie batsmen.

Seamer Nuwa Kulasekera has been a glutton for hard work. His bowling has been spot on, bowling wicket to wicket and not letting the batsmen have their own way. His catching too has been an example and it should rub off on the other fielders.

As for the Australians they seem to be in a bit of a crisis. The dropping of master batsman Ricky Ponting has not gone down well with some members the team.

Deliver or perish

By dropping Ponting, the Aussie selectors have served notice on the team that they must deliver or perish. But the Aussies can take inspiration with the return of regular skipper Michael Clarke to show them how.

Clarke has still not fully recovered from his hamstring strain. But in the absence of Ponting he is sure to walk out to toss with Mahela Jayawardena. Seam bowler Ryan Harris is also set to return to the side.

Regular vice captain the fearsome Shane Watson who recovered well from his injuries is not likely to play. He could be seen in action on Sunday.

Bellerive Oval, Hobart


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