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Sri Lanka ready for Aussies
February 17, 2004 10:05 IST
Coach John Dyson believes Sri Lanka are ready to rise to the challenge of facing Australia despite having played just a single one-day international in eight months.
Dyson, speaking at the official launch of the series on Monday night, said his players were determined to overcome the world champions in the five-match one-day series beginning on Friday.
"We may have only played one game against England but that only increases the keenness of the players to get on the field," said Dyson.
"I can tell you one thing about these players -- they have worked very, very hard.
"The Australians play the best brand of cricket in the world, but the players are ready to lift themselves to meet the challenge."
The one-dayers will be followed by three Tests next month.
Ricky Ponting's Australians come into the one-dayers after an emphatic home triangular series victory against India and Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka last played a one-dayer against England in Dambulla last November.
Sri Lanka's selectors will finalise a 15-man squad for the first two one-dayers, both in Dambulla, on Tuesday after Australia's only warm-up game against a Board President's XI.
Ponting said he was confident that his team would adapt to the conditions and defeat Sri Lanka.
The skipper of both the Test and one-day teams after the retirement of Steve Waugh, he told reporters: "Sri Lanka has been a hard place for us to tour, conditions are so different from back home.
"But we are confident that we can win. We have played a fair bit for cricket in the subcontinent over the past couple of years and have started to understand how to play the conditions a bit better."
Australia's last two Test series defeats were both in the sub-continent, against India in 2001 and Sri Lanka in 1999.
They have never won an one-day series or tournament in Sri Lanka.
Ponting identified off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and seamer Chaminda Vaas as the primary threats.
"The great thing is that we have played a lot of cricket against them as they have been around for a while and we have a fair understanding of how to play them."