Former Oz players peg Sri Lanka as biggest threat to Australia’s WC chargeBy ANI
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
MELBOURNE - The biggest threat to Ricky Potning-led team’s chances of lifting the World Cup for the fourth consecutive time comes from Sri Lanka, according to Australia’s World Cup-winning players.
India is destined to start the tournament as favourites following their 38-run win over Australia in Monday’s warm-up match, but it’s co-host Sri Lanka who has caught the attention of former Australian players.
Mark Waugh, Damien Fleming and Greg Blewett unanimously backed Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions and 2007 finalists, to win the Cup.
Fleming, a member of Australia’s victorious 1999 squad, suggested Australia’s staggering 27-match unbeaten streak in World Cup competitions would face its greatest test from Kumar Sangakkara’s side.
“It’s always tough in the subcontinent because the host countries play so well over there. I am a little bit worried about our (Australia’s) middle order against spin,” Fox Sports quoted him, as saying.
Fleming said that while Sri Lanka’s pace attack looked fragile, a long batting order and a bowling attack led by spin legend Muttiah Muralidaran made Trevor Bayliss’ team the danger outfit in the tournament.
Waugh pointed to Australia’s middle-order collapse against India as a danger sign ahead of their opening match of the tournament against Zimbabwe on February 21.
“The worry was the middle order against spin bowling was a bit shaky so we have to fix that up,” he said, before tipping Pakistan as the “dark horse” for the tournament.
“We play well under pressure and we have some experienced players there, but the subcontinent is going to be different - we are going to have to play a different brand of cricket,” he said.
Sri Lanka had been a proven World Cup adversary for Australia before, having defeated the Mark Taylor-led team at the 1996 World Cup.
Former Australia batsman Blewett tipped Sri Lanka captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Sangakkara to be one of the stars of the tournament. (ANI)