WC 2003 - Lankas WC destiny in the hands of the Indians
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Johannesburg: Sanath Jayasuriya's men face an agonising wait till Friday evening to know if their World Cup campaign is still alive.All they can do till then is pray - for India's success.Sri Lanka's only hope of staying in contention for the semi-finals is if India continues its good form and crush New Zealand in its last Super Six game at Centurion on Friday.If the Kiwis win, the Sri Lankans may as well not take the field against Zimbabwe in East London on Saturday.For Stephen Fleming's men would already have taken the fourth and last semi-final spot after Australia, India and Kenya.Sri Lanka's agony is both of its own making and Kenya's surprise entry into the last four after defeating Zimbabwe by seven wickets at Bloemfontein on Wednesday."There is little we can do, but wait and see how our luck holds," Sri Lankan coach Dav Whatmore said."We'll obviously have an eye - probably both eyes - on the India game on Friday, but there's no question we also have to train for the game the next day."If India ousts the Kiwis, Sri Lanka will have to beat Zimbabwe to qualify for the semi-final against reigning champion Australia at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.Whatever the outcome, skipper Jayasuriya knows he will have to play the rest of the tournament with a broken thumb, the legacy of a Brett Lee special last week."Sanath's forearm is not a problem but the left thumb is broken right at the tip and he will only fully recover after the World Cup," said team physiotherapist Alex Kontouri."He is taking mild pain killers but can manage the pain for the time being."Batsman Hashan Tillakaratne, however, will be fit to play against Zimbabwe after missing the 183-run defeat against India on Monday.But it may already be too late for Sri Lanka after it lost to Kenya in the preliminary league and went down in both Super Sixes games to Australia and India.Whatmore insisted the players had themselves to blame for facing the prospect of an early flight home."It is difficult to have sympathy for the boys when they play like that," Whatmore said after the heavy defeat against India at Centurion."It's a problem of our own making," said Whatmore, the former Australian Test batsman who guided the Islanders to their World Cup triumph seven years ago."The boys got themselves into this situation and now they must get themselves out of it."We've had a talk about it already. We can assist all we can but they know that ultimately you win or you lose by what happens in the middle."