Buoyant Lanka take on vulnerable Australia

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2008, 14:15 [IST]
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Perth: Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene vowed here Thursday to target Australian frailties as the tourists bid for top spot in the tri-series table.

A win for Sri Lanka in Perth on Friday would see them top of the standings, relegating the world champions to bottom place.

His own side's confidence boosted by a much-needed win over India in Canberra on Tuesday, Jayawardene said the Australians were not as daunting as they had been over the past 10 years.

"It is a good opportunity for us to go top of the table," he said.

"We've got back into the tournament and the guys can really build up on that confidence."

"They (Australia) are under pressure. The batting, there are two or three guys who have been consistently performing, but the rest haven't been.

"In the past the Aussies have found ways to get back into games, but the last six months I don't think they've got that belief in themselves," he added.

"If we can push them back from the beginning, we can create more pressure."

Jayawardene said the Sri Lankans would try to continue Ricky Ponting's form slump, with the Australian captain yet to reach double figures in the tournament.

"He's had a quiet time and hopefully we can keep him under the same pressure he has been under for the last two months," he said.

"It is in our interest to keep him like that."

The Sri Lankans are hopeful seamer Ishara Amerasinghe will be fit to return from a hamstring strain, with a final decision to be made on the morning of the match.

Ponting said his side would make two changes for the match.

All-rounder James Hopes returns after missing Sunday's loss to India with hamstring tightness and spinner Brad Hogg has been recalled, at the expense of Brad Haddin and seamer Stuart Clark.

"I had a look at the wicket out there and it looks hard and very flat so I think some change of pace with those guys coming into the side will help us out," Ponting said.

"I'll probably use the other part-timers as well otherwise the quicks out there will be the easiest bowlers to face."

Ponting said the Australians were determined to win the series to give a good send-off to retiring wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, who plays his last game on his home ground on Friday.

Rain, which has already washed out two matches in this tournament and severely cut short Tuesday's match, is unlikely to play a factor in Perth. Fine and warm conditions are expected for Friday's game.

India leads the series table on 8 points, with Australia (7 pts) and Sri Lanka (6) nipping at its heels.


Sri Lanka: Upal Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumara Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Dilshan Tilakaratne, Farvez Maharoof, Chamara Silva, Kapugedera, Dilruwan Perera, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Kulasekara, AIshara Amerasinghe and M Muralitharan.

Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist (wk), Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Andrew Symonds, James Hopes, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken and Mitchell Johnson.


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