Jayasuriya happy to spot the difference

Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Paarl: Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya might be reflecting on what a difference two months makes as he plots his team's final push towards the World Cup Super Sixes.

In December, Sri Lanka departed South Africa after a disastrous tour. The Lankans were heavily beaten in two Test matches and beaten 4-1 in a One-day series and were even trounced by South Africa 'A', the host country's second string, in a One-day game. But it has been a different Sri Lanka, and especially a rejuvenated Jayasuriya, which has been a pace-setter in the World Cup.

Sri Lankans have won both their matches - beating New Zealand and Bangladesh - and Jayasuriya, whose poor personal performances were a factor in their defeats on the earlier tour, has been in top form, hitting 120 against New Zealand and 55 not out against Bangladesh. For good measure, he has climbed back to the top of the world One-day batting rankings. The Lankans will seek to maintain the momentum when they play outsiders Canada at Boland Park on Wednesday, knowing they have an opportunity to top Group 'B'.

Provided the major teams keep winning against the minnows in the group, Sri Lanka will have two opportunities to clinch a place in the Super Six at the expense of South Africa - either by beating the West Indies in Cape Town on February 28 or when they play South Africa in Durban on March 3. If Sri Lanka wins the Cape Town match, South Africa won't be able to qualify even by winning in Durban.

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