Aussies aim at peak

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

AUS­TRALIA’S hopes of clinch­ing top spot in Group A of the World Cup re­main in their own hands de­spite only claim­ing one point from their washed out clash with Sri Lanka.

The home side reached 3-146 from 32.5 overs be­fore heavy rain set in, much to the dis­ap­point­ment of t he ca­pac­ity crowd of about 35,000 f a n s a t C o l o m b o ’ s Pre­madasa Sta­dium.

Aus­tralia’s Shaun Tait had brought the con­test to life in the sec­ond over as the pace­man en­gaged in a fiery ex­change with Til­lakaratne Dil­shan.

Tait clashed ver­bally with the opener af­ter a snick through slips for four then was fu­ri­ous as the bats­man pulled away from the sec­ond de­liv­ery, claim­ing some­thing had dis­tracted him near the sightscreen.

‘‘ I think they ac­tu­ally bumped into each other i n t he mid­dle of t he wicket, t hat’s what I made of it,’’ Aus­tralia cap­tain Ricky Ponting said.

‘‘ It ap­peared that Shaun w a s n ’ t p a r t i c u l a r l y happy at that time, so I tried to get him back to the end of his bowl­ing mark as quickly as pos­si­ble.

‘‘ Then he came steam­ing in to bowl the next one and Dil­shan pulled away.

‘‘ It just added a lit­tle bit of the­atrics to the sec­ond over of the game.

‘‘ As it turned out Shaun was good enough to get his wicket a cou­ple of balls later, so it was sweet re­venge.’’

Third-placed Aus­tralia have five of a pos­si­ble six points from three games. Sri Lanka are sec­ond with five points from f o u r m a t c h e s a n d Pak­istan are on top with three wins from as many matches. Aus­tralia face

Ricky Ponting Kenya and Canada on Marc h 1 3 a n d 1 6 i n Ban­ga­lore be­fore play­ing Pakis t a n i n Col o mbo three days later.

A l o s s t o a s t r o n g P a k i s t a n t e a m c o u l d plunge Aus­tralia to third and a pos­si­ble quar­ter­fi­nal against In­dia in Ahmedabad.

‘‘ We’ve got two of the min­now teams com­ing up in the next week. So hope­fully we can get the re­sults we re­quire out of those games,’’ Ponting said.

‘‘ Then we know we’ve got to come back here and play what looks to be a very good Pak­istan side.’’

Ponting said he hoped a re­place­ment for in­jured p a c e b o w l e r D o u g B o l l i n g e r w o u l d b e named in the next few days.

Vet­eran bats­man Mike Hussey could be re­called fol­low­ing his re­cov­ery from ham­string surgery, w h i l e P e t e r S i d d l e , J a mes Pat t i ns o n a nd Dirk Nannes would be among the fast bowl­ing can­di­dates.

S r i L a n k a s k i p p e r K u m a r S a n g a k k a r a made an un­beaten 73 on Satur­day.

Tait ( 1-23 off five overs) and Brett Lee ( 1-27 off five) took one wicket each for Aus­tralia, who stretched their un­beaten s t r eak i n World Cup matches to 32.

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