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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

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Slow bowlers may play a decisive role
Sunil Narula, PTI
Colombo, September 27, 2002
First Published: 14:23 IST(26/9/2002)
Last Updated: 00:20 IST(27/9/2002)

Both Australia and Sri Lanka have had two extremely easy matches on their way to the semi-final of the Champions Trophy but they surely cannot be blamed for those one-sided encounters. Sri Lanka are world-beaters in these typically humid conditions and Australia are world-beaters in any conditions.

So it's going to be a clash of two very strong outfits on Friday in the second semi-final to decide which team will move ahead to take on India.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting spoke to the media on Thursday and said he had not given much thought to batting first or chasing a target. "After seeing last night's game between India and South Africa, I feel slow bowlers will have a role to play in these conditions. But we have always relied on our fast bowlers to get us the early wickets. And I don't hope the team will change much.

"After seeing the wicket probably we will decide on the strategy. We have players in the team who are good slow bowlers like Darren Lehmann and Michael Bevan. We have Warne. We have also chased some very stiff targets so batting first or chasing doesn't matter much," said Ponting.

The Australian captain also stressed it was wrong to give the tag of 'chokers' to South Africans especially after they failed to win from a very strong position last night.

"What happened to them last night has happened to many teams before. What happened with Herschelle Gibbs was the turning point in the match. We have seen in the past when two or three wickets fall quickly it is difficult to keep up the momentum.

"The South Africans dug themselves into a hole and could not come out of that. But it's wrong to call them 'chokers'. The best four sides in the tournament made it through to the semi-finals and there is very little to choose between them,' said Ponting.

Ponting also said he was quite satisfied with the way technology has been used to determine leg-before decisions in this tournament. "I think it's been quite successful and most importantly it has been very quick and not much time has been wasted on consulting the third umpire. It has not slowed down the game at all," said Ponting.

Ponting said the Sri Lankans were extremely difficult to beat in their home conditions but felt he had the players who have been very consistent over a period of time.

"Jayasuriya and Muralitharan will be the their key players. But apart from those two they also have other very talented players. But we have a lot of experienced players who have been quite consistent," said Ponting.

The Australian players had gone off to the Maldives for a short break after the group matches and Ponting said that the sojourn had been quite refreshing.

"We had a nice break in the Maldives and now are refreshed to resume our cricket once again," said Ponting.

The day-night semi-final will start at the Premadasa Stadium at 2.30 p.m. local time.

Teams:

Australia (from):
Ricky Ponting (capt), Mathew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Damien Martyn, Jimmy Maher, Michael Bevan, Darren Lehmann, Brett Lee, Andy Bichel, Jason Gillespie, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Nathan Hauritz and Shane Watson.

Sri Lanka (from): Sanath Jayasuriya (capt), Russel Arnold, Marvan Atapattu, Upul Chandana, Aravinda de Silva, Kumar Dharmasena, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando, Hasantha Fernando, Pulasthi Gunaratne, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Umpires: Steve Bucknor and David Orchard.

Third umpire: Rudi Koertzen

Match referee: Wasim Raja.


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