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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 00:25 GMT
Whatmore backs spinners' wicket
Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore
Whatmore played Test cricket for Australia
Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore believes the notoriously slow Port Elizabeth pitch could help his side get the better of Australia in their World Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

Australia cruised into the last four with a run of victories that included a 96-run thrashing of Sri Lanka in the opening Super Six match in Centurion.

But Sri Lanka will take heart from the fact that they have inflicted the world champions' only two defeats in their last 24 one-day games.

And the pitch at St George's Park, where Australia's batsmen have struggled in their two games so far, is likely to favour Sri Lanka's spin-orientated attack.

"Australia are a very good side," said Whatmore, who is a former Australian Test player.

"They are clearly the form team. They are the favourites.

"What brings them back to the field is the surface we are going to play on.

It's like baking a cake - a combination of science and art
St George's Park stadium manager Andrew McLean

"Potentially we've seen sides struggle to score 209-210 and if we can muster up a figure close to 250, it will be very interesting.

"I think the wicket will suit Sri Lanka's style of bowling more than it did in Centurion."

Whatmore, who singled out Australia paceman Brett Lee as a major threat, said his side had learned from their mistakes in Centurion.

"I am more interested in getting the players up more psychologically," he said when asked which areas needed fine-tuning to beat Australia.

"Not many players in a career would play in a World Cup semi-final."

Sri Lanka booked the last remaining semi-final place with victory over Zimbabwe on Saturday after losing to Australia and India in the Super Six round.

"I am extremely pleased to have reached this stage. It was not the ideal way to get in to the semi-finals in the route that we've taken," said Whatmore.

"Nevertheless, you have objectives. You have goals, and our first goal was to reach the Super Sixes - we did that.

"The second goal was to make the semi-finals. We've done that. I don't think we can be too critical, but it's not the ideal way to get in there."





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04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say


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