Aussies ready for Sri Lankan spin blitz - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussies ready for Sri Lankan spin blitz

By Michael Donaldson 19/02/2004 06:16:36 PM Comments (0)

Patience against spin bowlers and an aggressive line of attack against the home side's batsmen are the crucial areas for the world champions in the one-day series against Sri Lanka.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has stressed the importance of pacing an innings against what he expects to be an armada of spin bowlers, led by Muttiah Muralitharan, who was the subject of an Australian team meeting on Wednesday night.

"We haven't played him too badly in the past," Ponting said of Murali, "it's been the other blokes, the part-timers, who have caused us more problems than him.

Ponting said Sri Lanka often brings in a part-time spin bowler inside the first 15 overs and the Australians lose their heads in their eagerness to cash in.

"We've realised these bowlers have come on and it's been a chance for us to get after them early but we've actually got out.

"That's one area we've addressed and we'll address it again before tomorrow's game. One thing you don't want to do is go too hard and lose too many wickets and put pressure on the middle order against their spinners.

"The game plan ... is to keep wickets in hand for as long as we can against their spinners and be a bit more patient through the middle of our innings. You know that on these grounds whatever you sacrifice through the middle you can pick up at the end of the innings with wickets in hand."

But restraint is the least of Australia's worries when it's Sri Lanka's turn to bat, with Australia taking the upper hand in recent encounters by peppering the top-order batsmen with short balls aimed at the body.

The result has been in a broken arm and a broken finger for dashing opener Sanath Jayasuriya and Ponting said the key opener could expect more of the same in this five-match series.

"That will still be a plan of ours for sure, especially with the new ball. There's no doubt we'll be testing them out that way.

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