Australia coach Mickey Arthur focusing on Lasith Malinga ahead of crunch tie against Sri Lanka

Mickey Arthur has said Sri Lanka have built a really nice unit © Getty Images

London: Jun 16, 2013

Under-pressure Australia coach Mickey Arthur tried to focus on cricket and the threat posed by Sri Lanka‘s Lasith Malinga as the fall-out from the David Warner affair continued on Saturday.

Title-holders Australia must beat Sri Lanka at the Oval on Monday to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.

But they go into the key fixture still facing questions about their team culture after Australia opening batsman Warner’s attack on England‘s Joe Root in a Birmingham bar in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Warner was suspended until the start of the Ashes by Cricket Australia on Thursday and fined USD 11,000.

That means he will miss Monday’s match, where Australia need to overcome the unique challenge posed by slingshot seamer Malinga, renowned for his yorkers, if they are to reach the last four.

Their chances will in part be dependent on the outcome of Sunday’s Group A match between England and New Zealand in Cardiff.

If New Zealand win, Australia face a straight quarter-final with Sri Lanka but if England triumph, they must beat Sri Lanka by a sufficiently large margin to surpass New Zealand’s net run-rate, currently the best in the group.

Australia do at least have some recent experience of facing Malinga, having played 10 One-Day Internationals (ODI) against Sri Lanka during the past 18 months.

“Malinga is a phenomenon. He’s the best death bowler in the world without a doubt at the moment,” Arthur said on Saturday.

“We’re very fortunate to have played Sri Lanka a lot over the last 15 months. We’ve had two ODI series against them. All our players have faced quite a bit of Malinga and we’ll have our plans, come the game.

“You talk about the big three in Sri Lanka’s batting; Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Sri Lanka have built up a really nice unit. We know we’ve got to be really on our money.”