This is not a grudge game: Jayawardene

Lanka skipper says his team would not be out to settle scores with the South Africans for fleeing Lanka, writes G Krishnan.
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Updated on Oct 24, 2006 01:39 PM IST
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None | By G Krishnan, Ahmedabad

Don’t be surprised if Sanath Jayasuriya celebrates the birth of his son with a match-winning century against South Africa on Tuesday. At least his captain is rooting for him.

“Sanath is feeling very happy about the baby. It was important for him to go and spend some valuable time with his family between our matches. I will be the happiest person if Sanath scores a century to celebrate. But he is under no pressure, and we all know how valuable he is to the team,” Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene said on the eve of the crucial Group B encounter here on Monday.

Jayawardene said his team would not be out to settle scores with the South Africans for fleeing Lanka over alleged safety concerns, abandoning the tri-series back in July. “It is not a grudge game. We are professionals and we have moved on, it's just the media that is playing the issue up,” the captain said. “We did not label them 'chickens' when they left. However, if the South Africans see it that way, it would be to our advantage as their focus might not be only on cricket.”

He also cautioned against the general belief that the South Africans were not good players of spin. “You cannot say they are vulnerable against spin. They play spin well. We have the advantage of having Jayasuriya, who is an experienced campaigner and Muralitharan, who is something special. I don't believe in approaching a game saying 'it is easy doing this and that'.

About the wickets here, the 29-year-old said, “The pitches are different. All pitches assist spin but to what extent, I am not sure. We have played here against Zimbabwe and the pitch aided spin then. I hope it will be similar on Tuesday.”

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