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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Dav Whatmore

'We have to play as a team'

March 06, 2003

Sri Lanka's Australian coach Dav Whatmore says his team is looking forward to Friday's Super Six clash with defending World champions Australia at SuperSport Park. On the eve of the big match he told Ashish Magotra that Sri Lanka are the underdogs in the match, but hastened to add the tag could help his boys come up with a good performance. Excerpts:

Is the form of the Sri Lankan middle-order a bit of a worry?

Aravinda De Silva got a good knock in the middle but the others have struggled a bit. Russel Arnold seems to be getting his eye in but he has not had enough time in the middle. In fact, that is a problem that the entire middle-order has faced, because they hardly got a bat as the matches against the minnows were over very early. The form of Jayawardene and Kumara Sangakarra is a worry but they are good batsmen.

Other than Chaminda Vaas, the Sri Lankan fast bowlers have been a little disappointing.

Dilhara Fernando is a very, very good bowler; it is just that he has been unable to find his length so far on this tour. When he does, he will be a terror on these pitches. Gunaratne on the other hand is an experienced bowler but he seems to be struggling to find the correct line and length. We are hoping that they both come good in the game against Australia.

The performance of the Sri Lankan spinners....Has that been a surprise for you?

In a way, it has. But spinners will always have a role to play in one-day cricket regardless of the nature of pitches that you play on. If the spinners know what line to bowl they can be every bit as dangerous as the fast men. They effected the major breakthroughs in the game against South Africa. So it has been a pleasant surprise.

How do you see Symonds's injury affect the Australian batting line-up?

[Ian] Harvey did not perform very well at the start of the season in Australia and then he suffered with a few injuries that kept him out of competitive cricket. Symonds's injury weakens the batting but Harvey's presence adds to the bowling firepower. Harvey was not even included in the final 15 for the World Cup but Watson's injury helped him force his way into the side and now he is playing in the final eleven.

Sri Lankan fielding standards seem to have dropped a little. Is that something that you are looking into?

Definitely, we cannot afford to give someone like Mathew Hayden or Adam Gilchrist even a single chance. We have seen that they are very capable batsmen and we are hoping to not make mistakes. Fielding does make a difference to the outcome of the match. I think we fielded quite well in the last match.

Do you get the feeling that the Australian batting order -- Hayden, Gilchrist and Ponting at the top of the order -- is just not the same quality after that with Damien Martyn and Darren Lehmann?

Ummm... not really. The top three are very good batsmen indeed but Martyn and Lehmann have learned how to play one-day cricket very well. They know how to take quick singles and keep the scorecard moving. And you cannot forget Michael Bevan.

What do you think holds the key for a Sri Lankan victory?

We have to play as a team. Every member who steps on to the field has to know what his responsibility is and work towards achieving that goal. Australia are a very good side and we have had some good battles with them over the years and this promises to be no different.

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