Glenn McGrath, who is usually so certain of Australia’s ability to beat all opposition, said their match against Sri Lanka on Monday would be a “big test” and the conditions would favour Sri Lanka. His comments came as Mahela Jayawardene also talked up his side’s chances despite the absence of Lasith Malinga, their strike bowler.
McGrath said Australia’s first game at Grenada - where Sri Lanka defeated New Zealand on Thursday - would be a challenge. “From what we’ve seen, the pitch in Grenada is slower and takes some turn,” McGrath told AFP. “It will be a big test for us and probably suit Sri Lanka.”
Australia will target Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka’s leading run-scorer in the tournament, and they hope his below-par record against Australia continues. “There is no doubt he is a great player and we’d like to get on top of him early and knock him over,” McGrath said.
Jayawardene said Sri Lanka believed they had the form and ability to become the first team to beat Australia in a World Cup match since 1999. “I think we have a very good record against Australia,” he said. “Why? Because we play our brand of cricket and we are not afraid of doing that.”
They will have to produce that brand of cricket without the destructive Malinga, who has 15 wickets in the tournament but is likely to miss the game with an ankle injury. He has never lined up against Australia in a one-day match - although he played two Tests against them in 2004 - and Jayawardene said it was unclear whether keeping him “hidden” until a possible meeting in the semi-finals or final would be a bonus. “That’s one way to look at it but there are so many other ways to look at it,” he said.
Without Malinga, strong efforts from Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas have become even more important. Jayawardene was confident his attack had what it took to dismantle the dangerous Australia batting line-up. “Australia are getting good starts and there hasn’t been that much emphasis on their middle order so that’s one area we’ll be thinking about,” he said.
McGrath, however, was confident that Australia’s own veterans - including himself, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting - would lift their game as the business-end of the event drew closer. “The next two weeks for us is the showcase time for the whole tournament,” he said. “Our senior players, who have been in World Cups before, I think that’s when you’ll see them stand up and start enjoying the tournament for what it is.”
Source:Cricket WorldcupMore on:Australia, Glenn McGrath, Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, April 16th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, World Cup.
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