SL look to spin to end Aussies 31-match unbeaten streak

Colombo: Sri Lanka are contemplating going with a heavy spin attack to end Australia`s 31-match unbeaten streak in World Cup when the two meet in their crucial Group A tie here at R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

"There`s a possibility of us going with three spin bowlers. We`ll have a chat with the selectors later in the day and see whether that is the best way to go forward," said Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara ahead of the team`s training session today.

Sri Lanka are expected to play all three spinners — Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis — in tomorrow`s game, with all-rounder Angelo Mathews sharing the new ball with Lasith Malinga.

The hosts will also look up to Malinga for a similar performance like the one he came up with against the Kenyans on Tuesday when he picked up six wickets including a hat-trick.

Sri Lanka could also make a change in their batting line-up by bringing in Chamara Kapugedara in place of Thilan Samaraweera.

On the other hand, Australia`s spin stocks have not been the greatest in recent times. And after Nathan Hauritz got injured in the lead up to the World Cup, there is little for the Aussies to boost about in the spin department.

Australia would be looking at off-spinner Jason Krejza, who was brought in as Hauritz`s replacement, and all-rounder Steve Smith, who bowls leg-spin to bail them out in tomorrow`s game.

"The wickets looks a slow one," Australian captain Ricky Ponting observed.

"It`s not an issue for us. We have an excellent record in the sub-continent and we look forward to maintaining that," he added.

Meanwhile, Australia`s unbeaten run that stretches to four World Cups is not the only thing that Sri Lanka would be looking to break tomorrow.

Aussies also have an excellent record against the hosts in World Cup matches as they have won all but one of the seven games between the two teams.

Sri Lanka`s only win against the Australians in World Cups so far came in the final of the 1996 tournament, which the islanders won by seven wickets.

"They simply have had very good sides," said Sangakkara, who was a part of the last four defeats to Australia.

"I don`t think we had the belief in the last couple of tournaments. One of the key changes we did ahead of our tour to Australia last year was to change the attitude."


Sri Lanka (From): Kumar Sangakkara (Captain, Wicketkeeper), Mahela Jayawardene, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath.

Australia (From): Ricky Ponting (Captain), Michael Clarke, Callum Ferguson, Brad Haddin, John Hastings, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Tim Paine, Steve Smith, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson and Cameron White.

Umpires: Tony Hill (NZ) and Ian Gould (Eng); Third Umpire: Shahvir Tarapore (Ind); Match Referee: Chris Broad (Eng).