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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

India, Lanka have score to settle

March 08, 2003 17:01 IST

India and Sri Lanka head into Monday's World Cup Super Six game at The Wanderers with an unsettled score to resolve and semi-final qualification at stake.

India's jittery win over Kenya in Cape Town on Friday has put them in pole position to qualify for the last four while Sri Lanka know they need a quick recovery from their demoralising defeat against Australia.

The last time the two sides met they could not be separated. The final of the Champions Trophy in Colombo in September 2002 started twice but was abandoned both times due to rain before the title was shared.

The teams will thus go into the game with something to prove to each other, but India captain Sourav Ganguly says the Colombo wash-out will not be uppermost in his players' minds.

"That is in the past," Ganguly said after defeating Kenya. "The World Cup is a much bigger stage.

"We are almost in the semi-finals."

An Indian victory on Monday will guarantee them that. Defeat for Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will leave them precariously placed.

To qualify, they would have to beat Zimbabwe in their final Super Six match in East London and hope Kenya are unable to find a win -- or indeed two points from a washed-out game -- in their next two games.


After the way they were swept aside by Australia, coach Dav Whatmore is aware his side face a real test of resolve.

"After this result it's another test for our boys," Whatmore said at Centurion. "The next one won't be easy either and we need to get some points on the board sooner rather than later -- this is a test of character.

"The Indian team have a couple of incredible match-winners. We've played them a bit and the boys know their strengths and weaknesses fairly well, but the main thing I want to see is everyone lift up a gear or two for that encounter.

"India have only lost the one game, so they're on top of their game at the moment."

The whole of Sri Lanka will be praying for the fitness of captain and influential batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, who suffered a chipped bone in his left thumb and a badly bruised left forearm after being struck twice in the second over of the innings on Friday by Australian fast bowler Brett Lee.

Jayasuriya is the rock on which his team's batting is built. It was still unclear the day after the Centurion defeat whether he would recover in time for India.


"It's still a case of wait and see," Sri Lanka manager Ajit Jayasekera told Reuters on Saturday. "The arm is more of a problem than the thumb. The swelling has gone down but it is still very sore."

The last World Cup match between the two sides ended in a 157-run thrashing handed out by India in 1999 at Taunton, when Ganguly and Rahul Dravid scored big hundreds.

India also have the historical upper hand, winning 39 games to the Sri Lankans' 29.

But Sri Lanka have one decisive memory to call upon, and one which surely continues to haunt India -- their semi-final triumph in the face of all that Calcutta could throw in their way en route to being crowned world champions in 1996.

In another case of unfinished business, that game was awarded to the Sri Lankans after the crowed rioted with India heading for certain defeat.

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