Colombo: Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya said on Thursday that his team was confident of beating the world champions Australia in the Champions Trophy cricket semi-final here.
The hosts meet Australia in a day-night encounter at the Premadasa Stadium on Friday to decide India's opponents in the September 29 final. "We know they are playing well in every department of the game, we will have to be at our best and we are confident of beating them," Jayasuriya told reporters. Dav Whatmore, the Sri Lankan born Australian coach said, "They are a side with claims to be the world's best. We will have the crowd support and we play better under local conditions." Sri Lankans are expected to be backed by a sell out home crowd, which loves to hate Australia. The two sides have been engaged in many a battle of attrition since the Australians refused to tour Colombo citing security fears during the 1996 World Cup, which the Sri Lankans eventually won by beating them in the final played in Lahore, Pakistan. Jayasuriya dismissed reports that Sri Lanka's champion off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan may not take part in Sri Lanka's tour of Australia in January for the one-day triangular series also involving England. "Murali will tour Australia", Jayasuriya said. Muralitharan was called for throwing by Australian umpires Daryll Hair and Ross Emerson in each of the previous two tours, in 1995-96 and 1998-99. Emerson's calling of Murali in January 1999 almost led to a Sri Lankan walk out at a One-day international in Adelaide.
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