Thatscricket - News - Sri Lanka to unleash pace assault against India at Kandy

Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Kandy: Sri Lanka hope to overcome the jinx of Kandy by unleashing another pace assault on India in the second Test starting on Wednesday.

The emphatic 10-wicket romp in the first Test at Galle suggests that only a remarkable turnabout by the injury-ravaged Indians, or the unsettled weather, could prevent Sri Lanka from taking a decisive 2-0 lead in the series.But the hosts will be wary of the Asgiriya stadium in this popular hill resort where Sri Lanka has lost its last three Test matches.Against South Africa in 2000 and England earlier this year, Sri Lanka succumbed to defeats in the second Test here after winning the first at Galle."This has not been a good ground for us in terms of results, and we are aware of that," Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya said after rain-curtailed practice on Tuesday."But there is no reason why we should not do well here if we bat and bowl well."Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando's five-wicket haul at Galle has encouraged Sri Lanka to go in with three seamers with the option of playing a fourth on a hard, greenish wicket.If the hosts opt for off spinner Thilan Samaraweera, it would only be because Suresh Perera, the fourth seamer at Galle, was reported by umpire Steve Bucknor for a suspect action.West Indian Bucknor is again the on-field umpire here and it remains to be seen if the Sri Lankans risk playing the 23-year-old Perera again."We will finalise the playing 11 after having another look at the wicket just before the toss on Wednesday," Jayasuriya said. "Suresh is definitely in the running. We have worked on his action over the last few days and his confidence is high."The Indians, meanwhile, are gearing for a last-ditch effort to salvage the series in the absence of five top stars, including master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, due to injuries.Reserve seamer Harvinder Singh, who has two wickets in as many Tests, is likely to come in for Srinath after the Indian selectors refused to send a replacement.The batting order will also be reshuffled with young Mohammed Kaif dropping down the order from number three to allow the two senior batsmen in the side, skipper Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, to move up."We can do nothing about the players who are not here," said Ganguly. "It's time for the others to show their worth. The only option before us is to fight back. It can be done and it has to be done now."Ganguly, whose future both as captain and player is at stake after failing to score a half-century in his last 12 Test innings, will himself have to lead from the front.Overcast skies and light rain disrupted match-eve practice of both teams. More rain is forecast over the next five days.Sri Lanka (from): Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Russel Arnold, Hashan Tillekaratne, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Chaminda Vaas, Suresh Perera, Dilhara Fernando, Ruchira Perera, Duleep Liyanage, Muthiah Muralitharan and Thilan Samaraweera.India (probable): Saurav Ganguly (captain), Rahul Dravid, Shiv Das, Sadagopan Ramesh, Mohammad Kaif, Hemang Badani, Sameer Dighe, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan, Harvinder Singh and Harbhajan Singh.Umpires: Steve Bucknor (West Indies) and Tyronne Wijewardane (Sri Lanka).Match referee: Cammie Smith (West Indies).

Copyright AFP 2001

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