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WC 2003 - Aussie suspicion

Published: Saturday, March 15, 2003, 22:33 [IST]
 
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Durban: Australian batsman Darren Lehmann has added his voice to the growing frustration over the state of the Port Elizabeth pitch where the world champions are due to play their World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.Ricky Ponting's men have had two narrow escapes on the St George's Park strip edging England by two wickets and surviving a six-wicket burst from New Zealand's Shane Bond before recording a 96-run Super Six win.The pitch is being reviewed by the tournament organisers, and Lehmann has warned that the matter needs urgent consideration.

"The authorities had better have a good look at the Port Elizabeth pitch. Against New Zealand, it was a slight improvement on the strip on which we played England but it was still substandard."We are playing a semi-final there and for everyone's sake - not least the crowd who want to see 250-plus scores - we're hoping for a big improvement," Lehmann told the BBC.Australia is still waiting to discover the identity of its semi-final opponents.

However, it will be Sri Lanka if the Asian side manages to see off Zimbabwe on Saturday in East London and that could spell real danger to Australia's hopes of making the final as the pitch at Port Elizabeth would be ideal for the wiles of Sri Lanka off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan. Copyright AFP 2001

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