India stop Aussies?
Daminda Wijesuriya reporting from Wanderers Stadium,
Australia has to maintain their good work they had in the last three
months for just another day. India has to ignore looking at the
winning machine and do the job. Both teams are only a hand's distance
away from the glittering World Cup and the two million dollar prize
done well so far, batting, bowling and fielding. So I don't think
we need anything different tomorrow. We'll stick to the basics and
focus on the job", said Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly yesterday.
A lot will depend on Tendulkar's bat, which has fetched 669 runs
in 10 innings of this World Cup and Brett Lee's wood seeking missiles,
travelling at almost 100 miles an hour.
It is a question
of how the two Indian openers are going to handle Glenn McGrath
and Brett Lee in their first spells. India is playing a cricket
World Cup final after 20 years and that means a lot for the people
from the sub-continent. "When India won the World Cup in 1983
it inspired cricketers since then. We are now in a World Cup final
and I hope we can repeat that performance. It's the last hurdle
and I think if we can play the way we played, we are through. But
obviously they are a tough side", said Ganguly. Australia is
the only unbeaten team in the competition winning 10 out of 10 World
are not too far behind, having lost only to Australia in the first
round. India came into the top gear after their humiliating nine
wicket defeat at the hands of the Aussies. Since then the Asian
giants went from strength to strength and no team could pose a barrier
to them. Australia applies a fully professional attitude to the
wickets early in the innings the defending champions maintain a
healthy run rate and that had been a successful ploy for the Australian
campaign so far. The Australians have been able to do so by the
strong middle order and dependable all-rounders in the late order.
On the other hand, it will be a disaster for them to make a mistake
today, after doing everything right during the last ten weeks.
The nation from
Down Under have not lost a single one-day international since they
went down to Sri Lanka by 79 runs at Sydney on Jan 9, 2003. Hence
the Australians are under more pressure than the Indians. Offering
a life, at-least once, to any batsman in the Australian middle order
could be considered as offering the World Cup to them on a plate
understood this four years ago at Manchester and Sri Lanka too were
forced to realise this fact at Port Elizabeth after Kumar Sangakkara
missed a stumping chance of Andrew Symonds. A similar mistake from
India today, would make no change. In the event of Australia defending
the World Cup they won four years ago, two million dollar prize
money will be divided among the 15 players according to the seniority.
They are much
happier to wear the tag of "underdogs." India had lost
only two ODI series since the Natwest Triangular, last year in England.
The two series they lost were the seven match series in India against
West Indies (3-4) and another seven matches against New Zealand
in New Zealand (2-5). Unlike in the first round match, India is
a different kettle of fish today. The players are not prepared to
face the same consequences again. Those incidents were real pinches
for Ganguly and his men and they are more determined now.
Ricky Ponting (Captain), Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel,
Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Darren Lehmann, Jimmy Maher,
Damien Martin, Glenn McGrath, Andrew Symonds, Ian Harvey, Nathan
bracken and Nathan Haurist.
Sourav Ganguly (Captain), Rahul Dravid, Virender Shewag, Sachin
Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Harbajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Zaeer Khan,
Ashish Nehra, Dinesh Mongia, Parthiv Patel, Sanjay Banger, Ajith
Agarkar, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif Umpires David Shepard (England)
and Steve Bucknor (West Indies) Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle
RFC fight back to beat Panadura RFC to enter semis
By Bernie Wijesekera
After the scores were being dead-locked 5-all at half time, Sabaragamuwa
RFC fought back well with grim determination to beat Panadura RFC
by 12 points (a goal, a try) to 8 (a try, a penalty) in a Group
A match in the Western Province RFU Under 24 rugby tournament sponsored
by Hameedias for the Le Bond trophy played at Longdon Place yesterday.
With this win
the entered the semi-finals. It was a keenly contested game between
both teams. One team is from the coastal district where schoolboys
from Panadura Royal were included, and the Sabaragamuwa team included
most players from Kelani Valley.
lads showed better rugby skills and were in the lead until midway
in the second half. Sabaragamuwa scored a dandy try through a fine
three quarter move to take the lead. Centre Asanka Lakmal receiving
a pass from co-centre Danuska Nalin darted over to touch down under
the posts. The try was converted by S. Malraj. Incidentally Lakmal
was picked the player of the match.
The first try
for the winners was off a scrum close to the line where number eight
Tharaka Chandramal crashed over the line for an unconverted try.
For Panadura RFC their solitary try was scored by Sameera Fernando,
which went unconverted.
In the second half, Dilan Sanjeewa put over a penalty in front of
The first match which was scheduled to be played between Tri-Star
and CR & FC did not come off as Tri-Star failed to turn up for
the game. Today's matches are the clashes between Kurunegala RFC
and Old Zahirians and the CH & FC take on Air Force at the same
resigns, but not out, says Minister
Sri Lanka's cricket captain Sanath Jaysuriya has submitted his resignation
from the captaincy in the wake of country's mediocre performance
in the World Cup, but the resignation is not being accepted, Sports
Minister Johnston Fernando said last night.
that the superstar-batsman had submitted his resignation from the
captaincy, Mr. Fernando said Sanath had the right to resign but
the country also had the duty to ask him to stay on. The minister
said the captaincy of the national Test and one-day squad was such
a crucial job that much thinking and planning would be needed before
selecting any new captain. Till then, he hoped Sanath would continue
to serve the country.
the selectors are due to meet today or tomorrow to pick the Sri
Lankan squad for next month's Sharjah triangular with South Africa
and Pakistan. The meeting comes amidst widespread speculation that
frontline batsmen Mahela Jayawardena and Russel Arnold who hit a
disastrous patch at the World Cup would be dropped from the squad.
indicated that specialist wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardena might
be recalled in view of Kumar Sangakkara's costly lapses behind the
stumps. But Sangakkara is likely to be retained as a batsman. Sanath
Jayasuriya had indicated over the past few days that he was thinking
of giving up the captaincy though he might stay on as a player.
Sri Lanka's other veteran Aravinda de Silva also announced his retirement
after the country's semi-final defeat against Australia.
refusal to accept Sanath's resignation came after the popular captain
told state TV last night that he had quit as captain. "I have
tendered my resignation to the minister. With my decision I have
given the selectors to opt for a new captain with the 2007 world
cup in mind," Sanath said. Sanath had taken over the helm of
the Sri Lankan team after its disastrous show in the 1999 World
Cup, held in England.