Thatscricket - News - Series will be tough for us, says Jayasuriya
Published: Monday, February 17, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Colombo: Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya says he does not think his team is the favourite to win the triangular One-day cricket series, starting on Wednesday. "There are no favourites," he said on Monday night. "It is going to be tough for us though we are playing at home. We will have to play very hard to win this tournament."The tournament opens on Wednesday with a day-night game between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. India is the third team involved. New Zealand, who had lost 1-4 to Sri Lanka in a One-day series at home early this year, was confident of giving the hosts a dose of their own medicine. David Trist, on his last assignment as New Zealand coach, said his teams aim was to qualify for the final. "I am confident we can achieve that as Dion Nash and Daniel Vettori are back in the side."He said it would be good for both India and New Zealand if they made it to the final. "That means we will have knocked out a strong team at home." New Zealand manager Jeff Crowe said the return of all-rounder Nash and left-arm spinner Vettori from back injuries would give skipper Stephen Fleming more options."Daniel has been an important cog in our bowling line-up and was missed last year at home," he said. "He not only provides variety to our bowling, but is also a big wicket-taker. Dion is a proven match-winner."Crowe, however, said the pair would take some time to regain rhythm. "They will have to find their feet again before they let themselves go. I am sure it would not take them long, perhaps a game or two before they get back close to their best," he said.He said it would be better for his players if they adjusted themselves early to the hot and humid conditions. "If we can do that there is no reason why can't be competitive from the first ball," he said.New Zealand would also be looking forward to impressive performances from youngsters James Franklin, Darryl Tuffey, Lou Vincent, Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram, who will get opportunities to show their abilities in this tournament. Sri Lanka goes into the match with an eye on the next World Cup in South Africa. The Sri Lankans have made four changes in the squad that won the tri-series in Sharjah this April, recalling batsmen Avishka Gunawardene and Chamara Silva and fast bowlers Suresh Perera and Dilip Liyanage.Perera, 23, and Liyanage, 29, have been picked with South African conditions in mind. Both are effective seamers capable of scoring useful runs down the order as well.Coach Dave Whatmore, the man behind Sri Lankas 1996 World Cup triumph, has already emphasised the need to have fast-bowling all-rounders to succeed in South Africa. "You only have to look at the success achieved by South Africa to realise that conditions there are well suited to these types of players."