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Sri Lanka Look To Halt Aussie Winning Streak


Host nation Sri Lanka will have to improve their dismal World Cup record against Australia if they are to topple the defending champions in Colombo tomorrow.

In a head-to-head the hosts have lost all but one of their seven meetings with the defending champions

Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has been disappointed at the hands of Australia a number of times and admits he is desperate to get the better of them.

"They have won the last three World Cups. They are the team everybody wants to beat. Everyone in the team is upbeat. We are anxious to beat them," he said.

The Sri Lankan batting line up is going to be heavily dependent on Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. The middle order has been struggling in this tournament, with the rain affected West Indies tour hardly ideal preparation prior to this tournament.

Ajantha Mendis is set to retain his place despite failing to take a wicket against Canada. Hat-trick hero Lasith Malinga is likely to take the place of Thisara Perera.

Australian opener Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke will be key here for the champions. Look to Cameron White and David Hussey to add some quick runs further down.

Australia is not expected to make any changes to the side that comfortably saw off New Zealand earlier this week.

Sri Lanka (probable): Kumar Sangakkara (capt/wk), Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath.

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

Malinga was missing for Sri Lanka's narrow defeat to Pakistan last weekend but returned with a vengeance this week as he skittled a dumfounded Kenyan batting order. He is favoured to be top Sri Lankan bowler; however Australia’s batsmen will be bale to handle him a lot more effectively than the African minnows.

Of the main batsmen, Sri Lanka rely heavily on the top four to fire, with Mahela Jayawardene looking a safe option as he has yet to get going in the competition so far.

Australia have had an easy ride so far in the tournament beating Zimbabwe, and a then a poor New Zealand side, and will be keen to defend their unbeaten record.

Brett Lee will be looking to inflict the damage and his experience makes him a prime candidate to be top Australian bowler.

Shane Watson, at the top of the batting order, has picked up where he left off in his one day domination of England last month. He is favourite here on what is expected to be a spinner friendly wicket once again.

Sri Lanka do have the ability to end Australia's phenomenal unbeaten record here, and it would be a crucial win in what promises to be a classic encounter between two tournament favourites.


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