|Sanath Jayasuriya gets a massage in East London Friday. (Reuters)
East London: A relieved Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore celebrated his team’s World Cup lifeline Friday after India’s seven-wicket win over New Zealand.
India’s win handed Sri Lanka the chance to claim the last semi-final spot by beating Zimbabwe Saturday. If they fail, it will be New Zealand who will join Australia, India and Kenya in the last four.
“The game’s on,” said Whatmore after spending a tension-packed day watching TV in his hotel room knowing that had Stephen Fleming’s Black Caps won at Centurion, Sri Lanka would be out of the World Cup.
“You’ll find a very committed team. With the result having gone our way, the boys will be jumping out of their skins now.”
Captain Sanath Jayasuriya, suffering from a chipped bone in the thumb as well as tonsilitis, was confident his team could take advantage of New Zealand’s slip-up.
Jayasuriya said Sri Lanka would be going “flat out”, while Whatmore indicated they would persevere with out-of-form batsman Mahela Jayawardene.
Win it for Andy: Streak
It may be curtains for Zimbabwe, but captain Heath Streak said his team will beat Sri Lanka and dedicate the victory to Andy Flower.
“Andy’s been a great servant of Zimbabwean cricket,” said Streak. “His record speaks for him. He’s up there with the legends of cricket.”
Zimbabwe (from): Heath Streak (capt.), Andy Blignaut, Dion Ebrahim, Sean Ervine, Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Travis Friend, Douglas Hondo, Douglas Marillier, Henry Olonga, Tatenda Taibu, Alistair Campbell, Guy Whittall, Craig Wishart, Stuart Matsikenyeri.
Sri Lanka (from): Sanath Jayasuriya (capt.), Maravan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva, Russel Arnold, Jehan Mubarak, Avishka Gunawardene, Hashan Tillekeratne, Muttiah Muralidharan, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Pulasthi Gunaratne, Prabath Nissanka, Charitha Buddhika.
Umpires: Brian Jerling and Rudi Koertzen (SA) Third Umpire: Srinivas Venkataraghavan (Ind)
Match Referee: Clive Lloyd (WI). (PTI)