Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2013 Contents A62
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Even as Clint McKay and Xavier
Doherty were doing their
darnedest to drive Australia to a
sensational victory over Sri Lanka
at The Oval, there were plenty of
non-Australians cheering them
on, just so that the cricket world
will be spared yet another India-
Sri Lanka ODI.
In the last five years, the two
sides have met a mind numbing
44 times in ODIs, and will face off
again in a tri-series in the
Caribbean starting next week.
The teams are so familiar with
each other and their strategies that
Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: "You
can also cut the extra 15 minutes
of time in a team meeting and keep
At least unlike a majority of those
previous encounters, toay s clash
is a high-stakes, high-profile game.
Even that could be ruined, though,
as the weather forecast is dire.
Sri Lanka, whose cricket season
at home is regularly blighted by
rain, are the only team to have been
fortunate to get three full group
matches, but that run looks set to
come to an end with plenty of
showers expected in Cardiff.
What s worse for Sri Lanka is
that, in case of a washout, India
will go through on account of being
winners of Group B.
The Champions Trophy is mar-
keted as a "short, sharp" tourna-
ment, but not having a reserve day
for the knockout matches is
stretching that concept a bit too
far. The only other times these
teams have met in the Champions
Trophy was also in a big game, the
final in 2002, which was washed
out despite the reserve day.
A week ago, midway through the
league stage, Sri Lanka seemed
headed for the exit as Ravi Bopara s
burst in the final over lifted England
Sri Lanka, however, hunted down
that total before reeling off an
impressive victory over Australia
to progress to the semi-finals, a
stage they regularly reach in global
Despite that, they have precious
little silverware to show so far,
something the likes of Mahela
Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara
will be desperate to change.
"There s no room for revenge in
sport, but yes, if we can beat the
Indians, I think it ll be a great
achievement for the whole team
because, you know, there are
thoughts about the World Cup
final, and the recent history against
them is not very good for Sri
Lanka," said Sri Lanka s Angelo
To achieve that, they have to get
past the form team of the tourna-
ment. There had been a bit of trep-
idation over how a revamped India
would cope with the loss of vastly
experienced players like Yuvraj
Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer
Khan. Their absence hasn t been
felt yet, as India s new opening pair
of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Shar-
ma have been prolific, and Ravindra
Jadeja s miraculous season contin-
ues. A team traditionally filled with
slow-coaches has now been trans-
formed to one the normally cau-
tious Dhoni calls "the best fielding
side in the world". In the crunch
matches, though, will the inexpe-
Two of Sri Lanka s batting giants,
Sangakkara and Jayawardene, have
already played match-winning
innings in this tournament.
The third, Tillakaratne Dilshan,
hasn t hit the same heights, though
he has contributed with the ball,
and took an athletic caught-and-
bowled that confirmed Sri Lanka s
qualification. Dilshan has top scored
in Sri Lanka s two longest ODI tour-
naments in recent years, the World
Cup and the CB series in 2011-12.
Sri Lanka will be looking to him to
lift his game when it counts once
R Ashwin has firmly established
himself as India s lead spinner, and
has grown so much in confidence
that he even attempted a conven-
tional legspinner in the Pakistan
India s bowling has yet to be stren-
uously tested in this tournament,
and with a callow pace attack that
is yet to prove itself under serious
pressure, Ashwin s role assumes even
more importance. (ESPNcricinfo)
Rain a worry in clash of familiar foes
India's Ravindra Jadeja pumps his fist after snaring another victim against
West Indies during a Champions Trophy Group B match at The Oval, last
Tuesday. Jadeja is having a sensational year. PHOTO COURTESY ESPNCRICINFO
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