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Lanka need to use home advantage against Australia

first_imgFor all that the World Cup is billed to be, there are a few contests that carry their own baggage, irrespective of the forum and format. Sri Lanka and Australia contests are played on a tinder box ready to burst into action any moment.Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga during a training sessionThe two teams face off at the Premadasa Stadium on Saturday in a Group A match that will have a bearing on the quarter-final line-up and also prove how the teams have coped with recent off-field ‘incidents’. Players from both teams have been accused, directly or indirectly, of indulging in fixing in this World Cup. If Australian openers Brad Haddin and Shane Watson were reportedly under the lens of the ICC anti-corruption unit for unusually slow batting against Zimbabwe during a game in Ahmedabad, a local channel in Sri Lanka accused Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera of throwing a match against Pakistan. Both episodes have since died down but such accusations don’t leave the players’ mind so easily. These incidents have added spice to an already fiery encounter, given what happened in the 1996 World Cup.That time, Australia and West Indies refused to tour Sri Lanka following bomb blasts in Colombo and the hosts entered the quarter-finals even before playing a single game. The Sri Lankans then had a dream run to the final, where they, ironically, met the Aussie and beat them in the final at Lahore.But when the teams enter the ground on Saturday, the baggages will have to be left in the dressing rooms. Current form and team balance will matter and this is where the difference between the two teams has narrowed down. The Australian team of the previous World Cups were so far ahead of the competition, most teams lost a large part of the battle even before the toss. But the current Australian side has a few shortcomings which Krejza – and will rely on their pace attack.advertisementBut it’s not a bad attack to rely on. Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson form one of the fastest and most potent pace battery seen in recent times. A lot of sides have opened the bowling with spinners this World Cup but teams can expect a barrage of thunderbolts from the Aussies first up. On the batting front, the form of Watson and Clarke will be of comfort. Skipper Ponting is slowly returning to form and fitness and will be the backbone of the line-up. The Sri Lankans have a few niggling concerns in their batting. Their middle order was exposed by Pakistan last Saturday and with a lethal pace attack to contend with, any frailties will be out in the open.They, however, have a trump card up their sleeve in paceman Lasith Malinga. He played his first game of this World Cup against Kenya and picked up a hat-trick and will be expected to give the initial breakthroughs on Saturday.The wicket at the Premadasa isn’t the minefield it used to be under lights, so chasing won’t be disadvantage. But with the overcast conditions seen over the past few days, the pacers could have a say in the game. There is very little separating the two teams. The Aussies have a proud record in ICC tournaments and Sri Lanka make the best possible use of home conditions. It could well turn out to be a case of who blinks first. the Sri Lankans know can be exploited.With Michael Hussey out of their side, the ability of their batting lineup to handle the Lankan spin attack will be severely tested. Skipper Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke will be the best bet against an attack which might have three spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath.The defending champions have a spinner with modest abilities – Jason Krejza – and will rely on their pace attack. But it’s not a bad attack to rely on. Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson form one of the fastest and most potent pace battery seen in recent times. A lot of sides have opened the bowling with spinners this World Cup but teams can expect a barrage of thunderbolts from the Aussies first up. On the batting front, the form of Watson and Clarke will be of comfort. Skipper Ponting is slowly returning to form and fitness and will be the backbone of the line-up.The Sri Lankans have a few niggling concerns in their batting. Their middle order was exposed by Pakistan last Saturday and with a lethal pace attack to contend with, any frailties will be out in the open.advertisementThey, however, have a trump card up their sleeve in paceman Lasith Malinga. He played his first game of this World Cup against Kenya and picked up a hat-trick and will be expected to give the initial breakthroughs on Saturday.The wicket at the Premadasa isn’t the minefield it used to be under lights, so chasing won’t be disadvantage. But with the overcast conditions seen over the past few days, the pacers could have a say in the game. There is very little separating the two teams. The Aussies have a proud record in ICC tournaments and Sri Lanka make the best possible use of home conditions. It could well turn out to be a case of who blinks first.last_img read more

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Wanted Anil Kumble to continue as coach, his exit left a bitter taste: VVS Laxman

first_imgFormer India cricketer VVS Laxman said the Cricket Advisory Committee wanted Anil Kumble to continue as coach of the Indian cricket team. Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were tasked with selecting a new coach in 2016 and they chose Anil Kumble.Under Kumble, India did well and even reached the final of the ICC Champions Trophy. However, reports of a rift between Kumble and skipper Virat Kohli left a bitter taste in the mouth. Days after India lost the final to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy, Kumble said he could not continue as coach because of differences with the captain.CLICK HERE FOR FULL COVERAGE OF INDIA TODAY CONCLAVE SOUTHThe Cricket Advisory Committee, Laxman revealed at the India Today Conclave South, wanted Kumble to continue because of his record as coach and India captain earlier.But Laxman said he did not think Kohli had crossed the line during the rather ugly rift. Many former India cricketers have criticised the way Kumble was treated and the way he had to walk out despite his achievements.Laxman said Kumble’s exit left a bad taste in the mouth.Watch: 2001 Kolkata Test vs Australia taught me several life lessons: VVS Laxman”I don’t think Kohli crossed the line. We at the CAC thought Anil should continue as coach but he thought the right decision was to quit and move ahead. It left a bitter taste in the mouth.”What I did not like was the way he was getting bad press during the Champions Trophy. The CAC wanted Anil to continue – the entire episode was very unfortunate.advertisement”He led the team with a lot of authority. I always tell people CAC are not marriage counsellors. We were tasked with selecting the best possible job. We did a very elabortate process – unfortunately, Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble did not work out,” Laxman said.Also Read | Bishan Singh Bedi on Kohli-Kumble fallout: One person is doing all he wantsAlso Read | Anil Kumble was the best leader that I played under: Gautam Gambhir to India TodayAlso Read | Anil Kumble deserved more respect: Rahul Dravid to India Todaylast_img read more

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Fire in BSNL exchange in Chennai connectivity hit

first_imgChennai: A fire in the Harbour Telephone Exchange of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) on Thursday has affected mobile, landline and broadband connectivity in that area, the state-run telecommunications company said. According to the statement issued here, restoration activities are being undertaken on war footing but it may take a week’s time to restore the services. The exchange has 35,000 capacity with 29,000 working lines and 3,000 broadband connections. No human causalities are reported and the fire was doused after ten fire engines and nearly hundred fire men were pressed into service. The fire is suspected to have emanated from the first floor, which was locked, BSNL said. The cables in the exchange room were gutted completely before the fire was extinguished.last_img read more

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