Exciting tussle on cards in India, Lanka summit clash

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: An exciting tussle between explosive batting and clever spin bowling is on the cards as India and Sri Lanka meet in the final of the Champions Trophy tournament on Sunday, chasing the second biggest title of the game ahead of next year's World Cup in South Africa. Both the teams are high on confidence after ousting favourites South Africa and Australia in the semi-finals and look equally balanced too. Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly believes his side's superior batting skills will take the team through while his counterpart Sanath Jayasuriya says his bowling department is stronger and will do the star turn for them. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh at their destructive best against the guiles of Muthiah Muralitharan and company is a potentially mouth-watering proposition and expectations of a tough and absorbing match, something which this tournament has not witnessed much so far, are soaring in this island nation. India, which had lost to New Zealand in the title clash of the previous edition of this tournament in Nairobi in 2000, is making sure it doesn't falter at the last hurdle this time. It has recalled its leading fast bowler Javagal Srinath to replace an injured Ashish Nehra. Srinath, who was playing county cricket in England, is joining the squad this afternoon and is almost certain to play on Sunday though Ganguly did not reveal his final XI. "Srinath is in contention" is all that Ganguly had to say on Saturday. But a good look at the wicket has apparently convinced him that the track at the Premadasa Stadium for Sunday's game is not going to be as spinner-friendly as it was for the hosts' semi-final against Australia on Friday. "It should be a good batting wicket. Unlike Friday, it won't be a turning track," Ganguly said. In fact, Sri Lanka is also likely to reinforce its pace attack and include an extra fast bowler in the side considering that Indians are much better equipped to handle spin than the Australians. Sri Lanka had used five spinners in the semi-final, playing both Kumar Dharmasena and Upul Chandana while leaving out Dilhara Fernando. But the strategy could be entirely different on Sunday. Jayasuriya said a turning track for Sunday's game could cut both sides since India too had world-class spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. "They are also a good bowling side. They have spinners too," Jayasuriya said. But he was convinced that since the strength of both the teams lay in batting, the bowlers might well make the difference in the final. "And I think we are a better bowling side," he asserted. Asked about his game plan, Jayasuriya said, "Its pretty simple. We will play the basics well." Extras:
Srinath will play Test cricket again: Ganguly
BCCI gets ICC nod to send Srinath to Sri Lanka

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