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Sri Lankan captain confident of beating India

Sri Lanka's middle order will revolve around veteran Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardena and Russel Arnold.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2002 13:32 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Cricket favorites Australia and South Africa are out and Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya says he is confident of beating India in Sunday's Champions Trophy tournament final in front of a large home crowd.

However, Indians too are confident of a win, exuberant after their victories against England and South Africa. "Our side is very strong, very talented. It is also very hungry, that's the key," said India's star batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

The Sri Lankan captain is not worried. He says his bowlers are better equipped than the Indians.

"We have a better bowling department than the Indians," Jayasuriya told reporters a day after his side overwhelmed Australia by seven wickets in the second semifinal.

Jayasuriya agreed that the Indians will play his spinners better than the Australians. Keeping that in mind, Sri Lanka may play an extra pace bowler rather than relying on spinners to tame the Indians.

The Indians shocked South Africa with a dramatic 10-run victory in the first semifinal on Wednesday.

On Sunday, India will be relying heavily on Virender Sehwag, its dashing opener who also excelled with his off-spin bowling against South Africa.

His three wickets tied down the mighty South Africans even with the likes of Lance Kluesner and Jacques Kallis at the crease and restricted them to 251.

Sehwag had earlier smashed 59 to set the momentum for India's score of 261 in 50 overs.

Tendulkar, skipper Souvrav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid will provide some solid Indian batting.

Two young players, Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh, have sparkled with their batting in this tournament and played key roles
in India's victory against Zimbabwe, England and South Africa. However, the Indian players have a reputation of losing their nerves in big games.

Skipper Ganguly wants to change that perception. "Let's forget the past," he told reporters.

Sri Lanka's middle order will revolve around veteran Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardena and Russel Arnold. Jayawardena's poor form since he scored a century in the first test against England at Lord's last May is a matter of concern for his side.

Sri Lanka's heat and humidity won't matter as both sides are used to playing in such conditions.

The slow turning wicket will be an ideal hunting ground for the spinners _ Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Dharmasena and Upul Chandana of Sri Lanka and Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble of India. The success rate will depend on who exploits the conditions better.

Sri Lanka's De Silva, Jayasuriya and Arnold and India's Sehwag, Yuvraj and Tendulkar also are expected to contribute with slow bowling.

First Published: Sep 28, 2002 13:32 IST