Durban: Harbhajan Singh believes Sri Lanka can pull off an upset and defeat reigning champions Australia in their World Cup semi-final on Tuesday if the spinners bowl well.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
"The Australians are very good players, there's no doubt about it," the Indian off spinner said. "But when it comes to playing spin, they play too many shots."Sri Lanka has a very good chance. They are playing with Muthiah Muralitharan, Aravinda de Silva is bowling well and they also have Sanath Jayasuriya, three good spinners."Australia takes on Sri Lanka at Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, while India plays Kenya in a day-night semi-final on Thursday.New Zealand's Scott Syris, who hit 141 off 125 balls against the Sri Lankans, earlier in the World Cup, believes Muralitharan can be thwarted by taking an off-stump guard."You can't dominate Murali. You have to aim for the gaps," Styris said.
"The one thing you can't do is leave the crease when you play him because he now has the one that goes the other way."It was surprising how fast he bowled and was still able to spin the ball. The one tactic we have developed against him is to take an off-stump guard. It reduces the way in which he can dismiss you."Harbhajan, meanwhile, has taken a back seat at this World Cup with India's newly-formed pace trio of Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra grabbing all the headlines.
But the "turbanator" is not worried at all. "They've all been bowling very well. I'm very happy. It's good to see them taking wickets for us," he said."This attack has a lot of potential and Srinath is a very mature bowler, he's done it so many times before."They are working very hard and hopefully they will continue with the same form. The wickets here are good for fast bowling and not so good for the spinners. But obviously you need to take wickets whatever surface you are bowling on."Harbhajan expects India to beat Kenya and reach the final.
"We've got the best batting line-up in the world, very good bowling and our fielding has improved," he said."I feel I've still got a big performance in this tournament and hopefully it will happen in the next two games." Despite his optimism, Harbhajan said Kenya had India's respect. "Kenya is playing well. You can't take them easily," he said.Harbhajan added that his family and close friends had not flown over. "It's good they watch us playing on television. Let's not change the pattern," he said. "When we go back with the World Cup, they'll be very happy."Harbhajan, also a hard-hitting tail-ender, said he had not done much work on his batting. "If our batsmen make 300 runs then there's no need for me to bat," he joked.Copyright AFP 2001