Sri Lanka out to clinch their fourth Asia Cup Title
Take on India in the final today:
CRICKET: Sri Lanka will be looking to win their fourth Asia
Cup title when they take on the arch rivals India in the ninth edition
of the six nation tournament final which will be worked off at the
National Stadium in Karachi today (Sunday).
The Sri Lankans who are hoping to win the title for the first time
away from home will take the field under some kind of pressure following
their six wicket defeat against the same opponents during their Super
Four match on Thursday.
However skipper Mahela Jayawardena believes that the past results of
this tournament will not have any bearing on the final which will be a
completely different contest between the two teams altogether.
In fact Sri Lanka and India are now even with the number of victories
in the Asia Cup history with both teams having recorded seven wins each.
The Sri Lankan captain noted that they have a good game plan in mind and
if they could fully executive it they are in with a great chance of
retaining the title.
Sri Lanka are the defending champions having last won the title in
2004 in Colombo under the captaincy of Marvan Atapattu. But this time
skipper Jayawardena is under tremendous pressure against a determined
Indian side who are also hoping to gain a psychological edge before
their test and one day international series.
Jayawardena feels that batting first is still the best option even
though India have proved their tremendous depth in the batting
department by successfully chasing targets of over three hundred runs on
a couple of occasions.
The Sri Lankan captain however stressed the importance of picking up
early wickets which could be a vital link for their success. Even then
they have always batted first in this tournament and that will no doubt
be a major concern for the team management.
Sri Lanka will be strengthened with the return of ace paceman
Chaminda Vaas and wrist spinner Ajantha Mendis who will be playing in
his first Cup final for the country.
But skipper Jayawardena said that it is good that the focus is more
on Ajantha Mendis because there will be less pressure on the rest of the
bowlers who could come out and pick up some wickets for the team.
Sri Lanka have delayed their final eleven until the start of the game
but they would probably include an extra batsman while allowing
Jayasuriya and Dilshan to share the ten overs between them.
They will of course not want to change the successful opening
combination of Jayasuriya and Sangakkara with Mahela Udawatte expected
to bat at number four.
Sri Lanka (from): Mahela Jayawardena (captain), Kumar
Sangakkara, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas,
Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Silva, Chamara
Kapugedera, Mahela Udawatte, Nuwan Kulasekera, Jehan Mubarak, Ajantha
Mendis, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Thilina Thushara.
India (from) Mahendra Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautham
Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Praveen Kumar, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Suresh
Raina, Ishant Sharma, R. P. Singh, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, Yusuf
Pathan, Manpreet Gony. (Karachi, Saturday)
The road to the Asia Cup final (how they fared):
SRI LANKA (preliminary round): Beat Bangladesh by 131 runs
Beat UAE by 142 runs (Super Four): Beat Pakistan by 64 runs Beat
Bangladesh by 158 runs Lost to India by 6 wickets INDIA (preliminary
round): Beat Hong Kong by 256 runs Beat Pakistan by 6 wickets (Super
Four): Beat Bangladesh by 7 wickets Lost to Pakistan by 8 wickets Beat
Sri Lanka by 6 wickets.