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'Indians, learn something from Australia'

Don't feel sad because of India's pathetic performance. The real World Cup magic will unfold now, writes Mandira Bedi.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2007 00:37 IST

I am sure for all those who watched the South Africa-Australia match have realised the magic of world cricket.

I am still reeling under the impact of Matthew Hayden's fastest - 68 balls, 14 fours and 4 sixes - World Cup record century that helped his side win the show by 83 runs. And may I remind all that this player was almost banished from one day cricket not many moons ago.

This is world cricket, this is class and this is cricketing life. Indians must take a lesson from the Australians, South Africans and Sri Lankans. See their batting, see their bowling and see their fielding.

The way even elderly jump and dive to stop catches is amazing. I saw Andrew Symonds - mind you, he is back in the side after an operation that caused a 44 day lay off - trying to catch the ball in a manner that can simply be called acrobatic. He missed it but what an effort!

But this defeat against Australia does not mean the Protease are down and out. They take on Sri Lanka in their first outing in the Super Eight stage and I am confident the foursome team of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers will have a definitive game plan in place for the band of brothers from the island nation.

I will place South Africa as favourite in this one. I watched with awe the way de Villiers was blitzing in exciting and attractive fashion and Graeme Smith matching him, in efficacy if not in style in the match against Australia. It is a different story that the two could not sustain the pace. But if they get going against Sangakarra and his men, it could be tough for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka - superbly confident after winning all their qualifying matches - will once again need a magical spell from Muthiah Muralitharan.

And if the wizard of spin gets the ball to whiz to his magical fingers, the Protease will have to quickly re-shape a different game plan to win the day.

And let us also not downplay the Lankan batting prowess. Kumar Sangakkarra did not have a huge score against India, similar was the case with the classy Sanath Jayasuriya. The two must be raring to make an impact.

It will be a cracker of a match worth watching.

Didn't I tell you not to feel sad because of India's pathetic performance in the World Cup? Believe me, the magic will now unfold.