Sri Lanka stand in India's way to final

Updated: 05 July 2008 15:41 IST

After being beaten by Pakistan, India play Sri Lanka today in Karachi in their last group stage match of Asia Cup.

Sri Lanka stand in India's way to final


Having qualified for the summit show of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka's last super-four stage match against India is at best of academic interest but coach Trevor Bayliss on Wednesday said side would still take the Thursday game seriously as it would prepare them for the finals.

"It is good we have a chance to play them before the final it gives the opportunity to carry on our good form in the tournament and extract more from the players," the Australian said.

India and Sri Lanka also played in the 2004 final in Colombo.

Sri Lanka became the first team to book a final berth.

Pakistan have beaten India on Wednesday and are still in hunt and hope that Sri Lanka defeat India on Thursday. This is a must-win situation for India to move ahead. If Sri Lanka beat India and Pakistan beat Bangladesh with a better net run-rate, India will have to come back.

Bayliss, who supervised another strenuous practice session of his team on Wednesday, said he was happy the way their batsmen have performed in the tournament, thrice managing to score over 300 runs.

"The batting has been our weak link in the last few months. But in the Asia Cup despite hiccups it has fired and made totals that have given good support to our bowlers on these very good batting tracks," he said.

He said India would be tough opponents as they were in good form and had a balanced outfit.

"Thursday's game would be crucial, for it will set the mood for the final."

Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene his coach's sentiment.

"Look at this stage I don't know who we will play in the final but on Thursday definitely it is going to be a tough game for us and we need to carry on our form and momentum in the competition for the final," Jayawardane said.

Jayawardene was pleased with the form of tweaker Ajantha Mendis, who has captured 11 wickets in the tournament so far.

"Mendis is a youngster with a sensible head on his shoulders and that is helping him learn quickly and perform well. He has struck gold in the event and what more can we ask off him," he said.

The Lankan skipper said he was happy to be leading a side with good bowling options and reckons bowlers of both the teams are in for some hard work ahead as both the teams boast off strong batting line-ups.

Sanath Jayasuriya, who celebrated his 39th birthday on Monday with a hundred against Bangladesh, returned to the hotel from the nets after not feeling well.

However Bayliss said it was nothing serious and the left-hander was just a bit down due to the heat and humidity. "He will be okay for the match," he said.

Topics : Cricket
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