WC 2003 - Intimidation - Aussies mantra to defeat Lanka
Published: Saturday, February 15, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Port Elizabeth: Australian captain Ricky Ponting unveiled a menacing formula to defeat Sri Lanka in the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.Play with intent and intimidate the opposition. A troublesome pitch at St George's Park and Sri Lanka's unpredictable ability to raise their game stand in the way of Ponting's team and a place in the World Cup final at Johannesburg on Sunday."We used a few words at the start of the tournament which were 'intent and intimidate'," Ponting told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). "And most meetings we've had since those words have come up again. They're words we have used and have worked pretty well. I wouldn't have thought we would get too funky."Australia's destructive skills with bat and ball are complemented by a ruthless streak which is also manifested in the body language and occasionally the words of its players.But Ponting makes no apology about his side's power to intimidate."It's psychological, and it's skills-wise," he said. "I think we can intimidate with our talent as well as we can psychologically. I don't think there are too many sides that match us right down the list as far as talent goes."The Australian team's theme at the last World Cup, which they won under Steve Waugh, was "no regrets." Ponting denied his team had extra motivation to defeat Sri Lanka after losing the 1996 World Cup final and last year's Champions Trophy semi-final."In this sort of game, it's a high-pressured sort of game, it will be a tough encounter but there won't be anything more than that," the Australian captain said."I don't think we regard the Sri Lankans any differently to any other side - there has been controversy in a lot of those games, a lot has involved (Muthiah) Muralitharan every time he has toured Australia."That's got nothing to do with the teams. It's just hype around the crowds and that sort of stuff. There is no more niggle or feeling between our two teams."The last time Australia played a World Cup semi-final, in England four years ago, the game ended in a dramatic tie when South African Lance Klusener was run out attempting the winning run.Ponting, however, was ready for any eventuality. "We would like to think we could lift our game up a little bit as we have been able to do in bigger types of contests for a long time now," he said."The side has been able to lift themselves and play at almost a different level. We have said for the last couple of weeks that we thought the semi-final would be our toughest game. In saying that I think we are ready for it and have been ready for it for a while."