Aussies aim at peak
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.