Aussies look to stop Jayasuriya

Adelaide, February 9:

Australia are looking to prevent Sri Lanka from getting away to a flying start should the visitors bat first in Friday’s opening triangular one-day cricket series final match at Adelaide Oval.

Captain Ricky Ponting said opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya can expect some short-pitched deliveries from firebrand Brett Lee as the Australians try to stop the Sri Lankans’ free-wheeling batting.

Adelaide’s short square boundaries and the forced withdrawal of bowler Glenn McGrath provide scope for a rapid Sri Lankan get-away that could gather momentum when Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken and James Hopes follow spearhead Lee to the bowling crease.

Lee refused Thursday to give away Australia’s plans to combat Jayasuriya, but Ponting was more forthcoming on how his bowlers had to cater for Sri Lanka’s cavalier top order in the first of three scheduled final matches.

“You can’t afford to give him width, (Kumar) Sangakkara is similar as well in that they’re very strong square of the wicket. And Adelaide Oval, the way it is, you’ve got to look to bowl pretty straight,” Ponting said Thursday.

“We’ll use some changes of pace through the innings and Sanath can expect some short stuff as well.

Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody has welcomed an Australian short-pitched pace assault on Jayasuriya. Moody suggested such an attack could prove foolhardy when attempted on a ground like the elongated Adelaide Oval.

Moody said the absence of the experienced McGrath — who is with his wife as she undergoes further cancer treatment — would be missed.

Jayasuriya flayed Australia’s attack for a memorable 114 off 96 balls to help carry Sri Lanka to a formidable 309-7 and a comfortable 51-run win over Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 22.

Australia’s side is unchanged from the one that downed South Africa in Sydney on Sunday, while Sri Lanka must assess the fitness of Nuwan Kulasekara and Ruchira Perrera before settling on a team.

The match will be played on the same wicket that hosted preliminary games on January 24 and 26, and as such is likely to spin and play slowly.