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Sri Lanka chase elusive win against Ponting-led Aus

Last updated on: February 16, 2012 17:24 IST

Sri Lanka chase elusive win against Ponting-led Aus

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Sri Lanka's sprightly cricketers will look to end their winless streak when they take on an Australia sans talismanic skipper Michael Clarke in the tri-series One-Day International in Sydney on Friday.

Lying at the bottom of the points' table, the closest Sri Lanka got to victory in the series was the nerve-wrecking tie against India in their last match.

But the islanders, unpaid for the past several months by their Board, have shown the stomach for a fight and may just get the elusive win to show for the hard work so far when they take on Australia, which will have Ricky Ponting as captain.


Image: Sri Lankan players celebrate after a fall of an Australian wicket
Photographs: Getty Images

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'This is Michael Clarke's team'

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With Clarke out nursing a hamstring strain and the selectors not too confident about vice-captain David Warner, Ponting was handed the job he quit last year.

"I want to make it very clear this is Michael Clarke's team... that I'm just stepping up to look after for a couple of days," Ponting said.

"Everyone knows my appointment's been made for, hopefully, only Friday. Hopefully Michael comes up for Sunday's game (in Brisbane), so really this is just about taking over Michael's team and leading the team well and hopefully getting the result the team's after," he added.

Australia goes into the match on the back of a narrow four-wicket loss to India in their previous match. The biggest concern to emerge from the defeat was the top-order failure.


Photographs: Getty Images

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Ponting's form will be crucial

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The flamboyant Warner's fireworks didn't last long enough and the gamble to push Ponting to the opener's slot didn't work either.

With Clarke out, Ponting's form will be all the more crucial in Friday's match even though Michael Hussey's return will bolster the line-up.

It was left to debutant Peter Forrest and David Hussey to rescue the innings in Adelaide, but once they departed the Aussies failed to build on the foundation they had laid.

Another baffling decision was to keep in-form rookie wicketkeeper Mathew Wade down the order after asking him to open in the previous couple of matches.


Image: Ricky Ponting
Photographs: Getty Images

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Forrest impressive on his debut

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On the upside, a new batting talent in Forrest was unearthed and it would be interesting how the 26-year-old does after striking an impressive half century on debut.

On the bowling front, veteran pace spearhead Brett Lee is expected to be back to lead the attack after making a stunning early recovery from a toe injury.

Ryan Harris is "forced" to rest under the rotation policy - something the bowler is not too happy about.



Image: Peter Forrest
Photographs: Getty Images

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Lankans look for a better batting display

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Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have batting problems of their own to sort out. The aggressive Tillakaratne Dilshan's bat has been uncharacteristically quiet and Kumar Sangakkara is also due to play an innings of substance.

Dinesh Chandimal and Mahela Jayawardene though batted well in the match against India but the lack of a concerted effort means that bowlers have been far too often left too little to play with.

The bowlers, on their part, have done a decent job. This was evident from the way they stifled a formidable Indian batting line-up in the previous match.

The likes of Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulsekara need their batsmen to put enough runs on the board to ensure that their effort gets the team the right result.


Image: Kumar Sangakkara


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