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'We must stifle Jayasuriya's brilliance'

Australia will try to stop the flamboyant Sri Lankan when they clash in their make-or-break ODI in Perth on Sunday.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 13:02 IST

Australia will tailor their game plan to try and stifle the flair of Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya when the two teams clash in their make-or-break triangular series limited overs clash in Perth on Sunday.

Acting Australian vice-captain Michael Hussey said on Saturday that the home side was well aware of the damage the veteran could cause and was making its plans accordingly.

"Obviously he's a huge boost for them," Hussey said.

"We all saw how well he played in Sydney so we definitely need to be a bit more specific in our plans when we try to get him out.

"He's obviously a key player for them— one with a lot of experience and obviously one with a lot of batting ability as well.

"We are going to have to try and curb his brilliance, definitely, if we are going to have a good chance of winning the game."

Jayasuriya flayed the Australian attack for 114 runs off 96 balls when the two teams first met in the series, just two days after stepping off a flight from Sri Lanka.

In his second match, against South Africa, he scored 37 off 30 balls before being stumped.

Team officials said on Friday that the 36-year-old, who has more than 10,000 one-day international runs to his name, was expected to play after missing Sri Lanka's last match against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday with a thigh injury.

"We're doing everything we possibly can to get him fit," Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody told Radio 6PR in Perth on Saturday.

"It's looking pretty good at this stage. He's got a final fitness test tomorrow morning, but he's on the right track."

Moody said the Sri Lankans had not been able to plug the gaps after losing Jayasuriya against Australia.

"When you've got a player of his capacity (not playing), any side looks pretty limp at the top," he said.

Hussey, standing in as vice-captain for Adam Gilchrist, who has been promoted to skipper in the absence of the resting Ricky Ponting, said the wicket at the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) Ground was perfect.

The wicket has a long-established reputation for being fast and bouncy and not suited to Sri Lanka's favoured spin bowling, although in more recent times players have reported that some of the pace has gone.

"It looks magnificent. It looks very flat, no grass on it, nice and hard— so I think it's going to be a great spectacle," Hussey said.

But Moody said it was a myth that the Sri Lankans preferred slow, flat wickets.

"From my understanding and what I've seen at the WACA in the past 12 months, I don't think the wicket's anywhere near the old WACA wicket," he said.

"It doesn't seem to have the same pace and bounce we've seen in the past.

"All our batsmen enjoy pace and bounce. It's a bit of a myth that Sri Lankans like the ball bouncing around their knees and slow wickets."

The Australians, with 14 points, head the triangular series table with Sri Lanka second on nine points and South Africa, who have a game in hand, on eight.

Should Australia win on Sunday, it would take a minor miracle to displace them from the best-of-three finals series while Sri Lanka would be in deep trouble.

They are scheduled to play South Africa in Perth on Tuesday but with three games left to play following that fixture compared to Sri Lanka's one, the Proteas would be in the box seat.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 13:02 IST