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Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: Rival captains Saurav Ganguly of India and Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka told their batsmen it was time to deliver as the teams prepared to meet in the triangular competition on Sunday.[an error occurred while processing this directive]Batting was the main worry for both India and Sri Lanka in their previous low-scoring games on slow pitches which discouraged stroke making. New Zealand, the third team in the tournament, also found the runs hard to come by in its two matches."We will have to bat really well against Sri Lanka," Ganguly said. "We batted badly against New Zealand on Friday. But there is no need to panic as we have to play five more league games."India managed just 127 against Stephen Fleming's New Zealanders in its opening game, chasing a modest 212-run victory target. Sri Lanka and New Zealand each have won one match, while India has yet to open its account.Ganguly blamed his batsmen more than the pitch for his team's defeat. "True, it was not one of the best surfaces to bat on, but this is no excuse. Our batting let us down."Jayasuriya said he was not satisfied with his team's performance despite beating New Zealand by 16 runs in the opening match on Wednesday. Sri Lanka could score only 220, but did well to restrict the opposition to 204."I am not very happy with the win in the opening game," he said. "Our batsmen did not play well and there were not enough runs on the board. I hope they score runs this time."Jayasuriya agreed with Ganguly that the pitches prepared for the first two matches were not easy to bat on. "These are not the kind of pitches where you can play your shots right through the innings," the Sri Lankan skipper said."But we cannot underestimate Indians who have recently played good cricket at home against Australia and then in Zimbabwe. They just had one bad day (against New Zealand)."Indian coach John Wright said it was crucial for his batsmen to do well against Sri Lankan spinners on a slow wicket. "Its (Sri Lanka's) attack is spin-oriented and we will have to score runs off it. For this, we require a bit of flexibility in the batting order," he said, adding that the toss would play a vital role.Sri Lankan spinners bowled extremely well against New Zealand in the tournament-opener, with off spinners Muthiah Muralitharan and Kumar Dharmasena, and left-arm spinner Jayasuriya conceding 97 runs in 30 overs.Wright conceded it would be a tough tournament for his team. "The teams here are more competitive than those we faced in the last tournament, Zimbabwe and the West Indies."The teams: India: Saurav Ganguly (captain), Amay Khurasia, Yuvraj Singh, Venkat Sai Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Hemang Badani, Reetinder Sodhi, Virender Shewag, Sameer Dighe, Ajit Agarkar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Debashish Mohanty, Rahul Sanghvi and Harbhajan Singh.Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Russel Arnold, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Avishka Gunawardene, Chamara Silva, Chaminda Vaas, Dulip Liyanage, Suresh Perera, Dinusha Fernando, Kumar Dharmasena, Muthiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando.

Copyright AFP 2001


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