WC 2003 - It~~s an India-Australia final on current form: Whatmore

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2003, 18:24 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Sri Lankan cricket coach Dav Whatmore on Tuesday gave full marks to India for outplaying Sri Lanka and said with its current form it could go on to meet Australia in the World Cup final. "India is the in-form team. Indians are playing very well at the moment. Their confidence is up," Whatmore said as Sri Lankans were left licking the wounds of a sound 183-run thrashing against India in the Super Six match on Monday.Whatmore, a former Australian Test cricketer, said both India and Australia were at the top at the moment and almost certain to make it to the title clash. "At the moment you have to say it is India and Australia. They are both good..... one hopes they don't meet each other in the semi-finals," he said.But Whatmore was disappointed with the way his team meekly surrendered to India without even a semblance of fight. "It is extremely disappointing. We thought we had a little bit of fight in the previous game against Australia which we were hoping to really bring to this game. But we were not just in the same park today," Whatmore said.The Sri Lankan coach said though the team could still make it to the semis, he was not happy with the way they had gone about their task."Mathematically, yes the team can make the semi-finals, but it is not the best way to do it. We are not playing well at all," said Whatmore who guided the team to its only World Cup triumph in 1996. Sri Lanka went into the match on Monday with captain Sanath Jayasuriya half-fit after his left-arm was heavily bruised by a Brett Lee delivery in its 96-run defeat against Australia last week.On Sri Lanka's failure to pick itself after its stunning loss to Kenya in the group stages, Whatmore said there is little a coach can do when a team performs poorly even though he, along with the other supporting staff, was willing to take the responsibility. "The players have got themselves into it, now they must get themselves out. We can assist as well as we can. But they know ultimately you win or lose, do well or don't do well, by what happens in the middle. "I as a coach have a responsibility. But the ones who get the pat on the back or kicks are players out there in the middle," the coach said.Whatmore said he was drawing comfort from the fact his side has managed to come out of an absolute disaster not very long ago."We were all out for 62 against Australia 'A' in Adelaide. But three or four days later, against a very good opposition in Australia, we were able to score 340 and then go out to win."That is what is the nature of this beast (the Sri Lankan team). That is what we really are capable of," he said. PTI

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