The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Whatmore tips an India-Aussie final

Johannesburg: Sri Lankan coach Dav Whatmore Tuesday gave full marks to India for outplaying Sri Lanka and said with their current form they could go on to meet Australia in the World Cup final.

“India are the in-form team. They are playing very well at the moment. Their confidence is up,” Whatmore said as Sri Lanka were left licking the wounds of a 183-run thrashing against India in the Super Six match Monday.

Whatmore said both India and Australia were at the top at the moment and almost certain to make it to the title clash. “At the moment you have to say it is India and Australia. They are both good... One hopes they don’t meet each other in the semi-finals,” he said.

Whatmore was disappointed with the way his team meekly surrendered to India. “It is extremely disappointing. We thought we had a little bit of fight in the previous game against Australia which we were hoping to really bring to this game. But we were not just in the same park,” Whatmore said.

The Sri Lankan coach said though the team could still make it to the semis, he was not happy with the way they had gone about their task.

Sri Lanka went into the match Monday with captain Sanath Jayasuriya half-fit after his left-arm was heavily bruised by a Brett Lee delivery in their 96-run defeat to Australia last week. On Sri Lanka’s failure to pick themselves after their stunning loss to Kenya in the group stages, Whatmore said there is little a coach can do when a team performs poorly even though he, alongwith the other supporting staff, was willing to take the responsibility.

“The players have got themselves into it, now they must get themselves out. We can assist as well as we can. But they know ultimately you win or lose, do well or don’t do well, by what happens in the middle.

“I as a coach have a responsibility. But the ones who get the pat on the back or kicks are players out there in the middle,” the coach said.

Whatmore said he was drawing comfort from the fact his side has managed to come out of an absolute disaster not very long ago.

“We were all out for 62 against Australia A in Adelaide. But three or four days later, against a very good opposition in Australia, we were able to score 340 and then go out to win. “That is what is the nature of this beast (the Sri Lankan team). That is what we really are capable of,” he said.

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