No slip-ups this time, says Sri Lankan coach

Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody knows his team are lucky to be in the hunt for a berth in the finals of the triangular series and this time he wants to make sure there are no mistakes.

The Sri Lankans have host-nation Australia to thank for keeping their prospects in the limited overs competition alive after they scored crushing wins over South Africa in the last two matches.

The South Africans only had to win one of the fixtures to ensure they would play Australia in the best-of-three finals starting in Adelaide on Friday.

But it was not to be and Sri Lanka, three points behind the Proteas coming into the final qualifying match, can now overhaul their rivals should they win.

The nervous wait for Sri Lanka was largely their own doing after opener Sanath Jayasuriya had set them up for a huge total in their last match against the Proteas in Perth, only to throw it away by losing nine wickets for just 84 runs.

Moody said afterwards it was one of the worst batting collapses he had seen, as his team lost by five wickets.

“As we recognised ... it’s not only the first 15, 20 overs that are important, it’s the 30 after that,” Moody said here on Monday.

“You’ve got to play the full 50 overs and tomorrow [Tuesday] we hope to play a full hundred overs and bat, bowl and field very well.”

Moody said Sri Lanka were expecting veteran South African bowler Shaun Pollock to play, despite heel and ankle injuries.

Pollock was left out of the team for South Africa’s 57-run drubbing by Australia in Sydney on Sunday, exposing the frailty of their young attack.

Australian opener Adam Gilchrist belted 88 off 66 balls to set the home side up with youngsters Monde Zondeki and Johan van der Wath carted for 0-42 off four overs and 1-76 off 10 overs respectively.

That knock, and Australia’s subsequent tally of 344-6, showed how badly the South Africans are missing the services of injured strike bowlers Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis.

“It’s certainly a slight advantage not having that experienced bowler against us,” Moody said of Pollock.

“But I’m sure Shaun will be fit for tomorrow and it’ll be a different ball game.”

Attention will also focus on Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who is fed-up with taunts from Australian crowds about his bowling action.

Muralitharan held a press conference in Perth last Saturday to release the results of further tests by experts at the University of Western Australia which proved his action complied with the laws of the game.

“He’s gone through a lot over his career and let’s hope this final test that’s been carried out is the end of it,” Moody said. - AFP

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