Sri Lanka will be a stern test: Ponting

Ricky Ponting

Sri Lanka will be a tough test: Ponting

By Julian Guyer

Nagpur: Feb 26, 2011

Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Sri Lanka will provide his side with a severe examination of their World Cup credentials when the champions next take the field.

Ponting, bidding for an unprecedented third straight World Cup title as captain, led his side to a crushing seven-wicket win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Friday. But he is expecting a tougher encounter against co-hosts and 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka in Colombo when Australia continue their group campaign on March 6.

“We expect Sri Lanka to be a very tough contest,” said Ponting, after the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy win over New Zealand that extended Australia’s World Cup-winning streak to 25 straight matches. “I think they ll be our toughest contest to date in this tournament. They re a good one-day side.

“But in saying that I think they rely on a few, certainly on the batting side of things. If you look at Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as the three that they rely on the most, they all had a pretty good start to the tournament. “It’s an interesting one with their conditions, because I think we’re playing them on a wicket that s a new one and has been relaid.

“The first game they had there was a really high-scoring one, and didn’t really favour the spinners as much as they would like.”

Australia’s fast bowlers, led by a four-wicket haul from left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, dismissed New Zealand for a mere 206.

The Kiwis were in dire straits at 73 for six only for their tail to wag as Australia off-spinner Jason Krejza and leg-break bowler Steven Smith managed just one wicket between them for 91 runs in 18 combined overs.

Ponting though insisted: “I thought our spinners were good. Krejza’s figures probably don t reflect how well I thought he bowled. He ended up with none for 47 off nine overs, and I thought he bowled a bit better than that.

“I thought Steve Smith was very good. He had a couple of loose deliveries towards the end of his spell but otherwise I thought he bowled very well,” the captain added.

“We’ve still got Dave Hussey and Michael Clarke up our sleeve as well, as far as the slower bowlers are concerned. Things are going along nicely for us.”

Although Australia said farewell to Doug Bollinger on Friday as he departed the tournament without playing a game because of an ankle injury, Ponting still has plenty of pace bowling options in Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and first-change Johnson, all of whom played against New Zealand.

“I don’t know if we ve invested heavily in pace,” Ponting said. “Most teams are going to be playing at least three seamers, it’s just we’ve got three guys who bowl close to 150kph. That’s just where we’re probably a bit luckier than most other countries around the world at the moment.

“I made it really clear at the start of this tournament that I don’t care who we’re playing against or where we’re playing, if we get these three guys playing as well as we can, then it’s going to be hard work for any team batting against us.

“If our spinners back it up and (Shane) Watson chips in like he did today (Friday), then to me it’s a really well-rounded attack.

“We’ve had a good start to the tournament, but we expect a bit stiffer opposition.”

AFP

By Julian Guyer

Nagpur: Feb 26, 2011

Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Sri Lanka will provide his side with a severe examination of their World Cup credentials when the champions next take the field.

Ponting, bidding for an unprecedented third straight World Cup title as captain, led his side to a crushing seven-wicket win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand on Friday. But he is expecting a tougher encounter against co-hosts and 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka in Colombo when Australia continue their group campaign on March 6.

“We expect Sri Lanka to be a very tough contest,” said Ponting, after the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy win over New Zealand that extended Australia’s World Cup-winning streak to 25 straight matches. “I think they ll be our toughest contest to date in this tournament. They re a good one-day side.

“But in saying that I think they rely on a few, certainly on the batting side of things. If you look at Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene as the three that they rely on the most, they all had a pretty good start to the tournament. “It’s an interesting one with their conditions, because I think we’re playing them on a wicket that s a new one and has been relaid.

“The first game they had there was a really high-scoring one, and didn’t really favour the spinners as much as they would like.”

Australia’s fast bowlers, led by a four-wicket haul from left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson, dismissed New Zealand for a mere 206.

The Kiwis were in dire straits at 73 for six only for their tail to wag as Australia off-spinner Jason Krejza and leg-break bowler Steven Smith managed just one wicket between them for 91 runs in 18 combined overs.

Ponting though insisted: “I thought our spinners were good. Krejza’s figures probably don t reflect how well I thought he bowled. He ended up with none for 47 off nine overs, and I thought he bowled a bit better than that. “I thought Steve Smith was very good. He had a couple of loose deliveries towards the end of his spell but otherwise I thought he bowled very well,” the captain added.

“We’ve still got Dave Hussey and Michael Clarke up our sleeve as well, as far as the slower bowlers are concerned. Things are going along nicely for us.”

Although Australia said farewell to Doug Bollinger on Friday as he departed the tournament without playing a game because of an ankle injury, Ponting still has plenty of pace bowling options in Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and first-change Johnson, all of whom played against New Zealand.

“I don’t know if we ve invested heavily in pace,” Ponting said. “Most teams are going to be playing at least three seamers, it’s just we’ve got three guys who bowl close to 150kph. That’s just where we’re probably a bit luckier than most other countries around the world at the moment.

“I made it really clear at the start of this tournament that I don’t care who we’re playing against or where we’re playing, if we get these three guys playing as well as we can, then it’s going to be hard work for any team batting against us.

“If our spinners back it up and (Shane) Watson chips in like he did today (Friday), then to me it’s a really well-rounded attack.

“We’ve had a good start to the tournament, but we expect a bit stiffer opposition.”

AFP