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DateLine Sunday, 24 February 2008

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Lankans have capability of entering final

Sri Lanka coach Roger Wijesuriya said that his team has the capability of going all the way into the final and win the International Cricket Council (ICC) Under 19 World Cup which has now reached its quarterfinal stages in Malaysia.

The Lankans emerged group 'C' champions following their five wicket victory against the former two time champions Australia in Penang and will now confront New Zealand in their quarterfinal fixture on Monday at the Selangor Turf Club in Kuala Lumpur.

Wijesuriya said that the team is brimming with confidence after their fantastic performance against the Australians where their batting struck form for the first time in this competition.

"We had been troubled by inconsistent batting for some time. But against Australia we saw our batsmen coming out and playing some fine innings and now they have the confidence to go on."

Wijesuriya commended the explosive batting of opener Dilshan Munaweera who gave Sri Lanka a fine start by smashing a run a ball 43 in their crucial encounter against Australia.

In fact Munaweera was playing his first game of the tournament after having missed the opening two fixtures against Nepal and Namibia due to a finger injury. "It was a superlative batting effort. Of course Dilshan (Munaweera) gave us some quick runs in the top of the order. And the others who followed him batted sensibly. I'm happy with our batting". It was a good win and it came at the right time.

We wanted to win this game before coming to Kuala Lumpur. And I'm happy with the performance of the boys."

The Sri Lankan coach also lauded the efforts of the bowlers especially the spinners who did a great job to restrict the strong Australian batting for a modest 172 runs.

"Right throughout our spinners have been bowling well. In our case we have a good variety weather it's spin or pace.

I think we have a very good balanced side this year and the boys capable of moving right into the final. "Now we have come to the quarters and it's a good thing. We like to go one by one, move from the quarterfinals to the semifinals and then the final.

But we are not overconfident. We want to treat every game alike. Cricket is an uncertain game of course but the boys are proud to have represented their country."

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