New Zealand speedster Shane Bond will target veteran Sanath Jayasuriya early on to stop Sri Lanka from getting a flying start on Tuesday.
“He (Jayasuriya) is the kind who gives them early momentum. If he gets going then they are able to raise 250 on the board. My job is to ensure that it does not happen,” Bond said.
The battle between the two will certainly have a bearing on the game. Jayasuriya has been in fine nick, and, if he gets going, Sri Lanka will have a good chance of putting up a healthy score and allow their bowlers to take a shot at the Kiwis. Bond will look to cut-off that artery.
But Bond’s record against the veteran is not very impressive. He has played against Sri Lanka in nine matches and claimed Jayasuriya in only one of them. In the last five matches, Jayasuriya has scores of 101, 1, 0, 71 and 64 against them and Sri Lanka have emerged winners thrice.
The present Cup has been an outstanding one for both. With an average of 12.83, Bond is the best among the bowlers while Jayasuriya, with 403 runs from nine matches at 50.37, is clearly the key for Sri Lanka.
Bond expects the Sabina Park pitch to be his ally in this battle fsupremacy. “I have spoken to a few players and happened to chat up with (West Indies’) Daren Powell. The Sabina pitch generally gives good carry to fast bowlers, and when there is humidity, the ball would swing.
Bond expects Sri Lankan bowlers, especially Chaminda Vaas, to make things difficult for his side as well. “Vaas has been a class act and he has got the better of Stephen (Fleming) on occasions. The conditions here would suit him as well. Generally I sense this match would go a long way towards the team which is able to pick 3-4 early wickets. Such has generally been the trend in matches involving Sri Lanka and us,” he said.
Bond generally means trouble for the opposition top-order and everyone, including Australia, gives him respect. He dismisses the notion of Australian captain Ricky Ponting that the Black Caps would be intimidated and under pressure after being beaten by their highest margin ever in Grenada.
“This is typical Australian way. They tend to speak about themselves and talk up the opponents. They are certainly beatable. If you can take early wickets, they too can get under pressure. We hope to go all the way. But even if we reach the finals, it would not be bad. It would be a special moment for me,” he said.