Perth: Sri Lanka’s batsmen are preparing to deal with a barrage of bounce from England and Australia’s bowlers this weekend, skipper Sanath Jayasuriya admitted on Thursday.
Sri Lanka will come up against England on Friday and Australia on Sunday in day-night matches on the liveliest surface in the country at the WACA.
After being beaten by England by 43 runs in their opening game Sri Lanka need maximum points from at least one of the weekend outings to remain in contention for a place in next month’s best-of-three finals.
Jayasuriya said he expected opposition attacks to continue to focus on pace. “We are expecting more short balls in Perth,” he said. “We have to do something about that, and we are looking forward to it and we are doing something for it.”
“We missed a few catches — and that cost the match,” he said. “It was the fault of our fielding, rather than the bowling, that we lost.”
Sri Lankan coach Dave Whatmore rejected suggestions that the team did not have sufficient time to prepare for the triangular series.
“It is not unfair that we find ourselves in an international one-day competition after only one preparatory game against an Australia A side,” Whatmore said. “These conditions are not all that different,” he said.
England paceman Steve Harmison — who has already forced teammate Ashley Giles out of the Australian tour in an accident in the nets — delivered another blow to his side’s campaign when he hit Ian Blackwell in practice Thursday.
Blackwell suffered a nasty blow on his left hand off a short delivery from the tall 24-year-old fast bowler.
After being examined by physio Dean Conway, he was X-rayed at a local hospital but no fracture was discovered.
All-rounder Adam Hollioake is expected to play his first match Friday, probably at the expense of Blackwell.
Ponting may open
Australian one-day captain Ricky Ponting said Thursday he may open the batting in Sunday’s triangular series match against Sri Lanka.
Ponting, who normally bats at No. 3, said he was considering filling the vacancy caused by the absence of Adam Gilchrist, out of contention with minor injuries.
Ponting (28), added that Darren Lehman and Damien Martyn are also in contention for the job, Matthew Hayden being the other opener.