December 14, 2001

Sri Lanka set to bring in young legs for West Indies game

Sri Lanka are looking to blood their reserve fast bowlers in their Saturday clash with West Indies, whose eyes are focused on their crucial game with Zimbabwe the following day that will decide the second qualifier for the LG Abans triangular series final.

The result tomorrow is irrelevant for Sri Lanka and not crucial for West Indies, although a win would make them favourites to qualify for the final, as should they then lose to Zimbabwe, they would still be protected by a superior net run rate.

For Sri Lanka, it's a perfect chance to groom their inexperienced players. Chaminda Vaas have a few niggles so he will step down and off-spinner Kumar Dharmasena is also expected to be rested.

Prabath Nissanka and Charitha Buddika Fernando, both of whom impressed in Sharjah, although Nissanka was wayward at times, will come into the side, which will weaken the lower order batting.

"We are thinking of giving a couple of the youngsters a chance. This is a good time to groom the youngsters for the future, like we did in Sharjah," said Jayasuriya after a light training session in the morning.

"But we also have to careful, we still want to win the game because we could be playing West Indies in the final, so we can't make too many changes."

West Indies, buoyed by their recent win against Sri Lanka, are hoping that they have turned the corner on a difficult tour.

"There is nothing like winning and we hadn't won a game at all till then, so the win has helped a whole lot," said Hooper, who had peppered the boundary during an aggressive midday net. "But we also realise that match is history now and that tomorrow, we start afresh."

But West Indies are concentrating on Sunday, raising the possibility of a couple of changes and the potential inclusion of the one-day specialists, who are yet to play a game.

"We haven't won much against Sri Lanka this tour but we did last match and it would be great if we could do it again. However, although we would like to win both games, the most important game is against Zimbabwe on Sunday."

Both matches will be played at the Asgiriya International Stadium in Kandy where the groundsman has prepared a brown flat wicket that promises plenty of runs.

Indeed, the last time a one-day game was played here, Sri Lanka blasted a world record of 398 for five against Kenya in the 1996 world cup.

Sri Lanka (likely):

Sanath Jayasuriya (capt), Marvan Atapattu, Avishka Gunawardene, Mahela Jayawardene, Russel Arnold, Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Chandana, Muttiah Muralitharan, Nuwan Zoysa, Charitha Buddika Fernando, Prabath Nissanka

West Indies (from):

Carl Hooper (capt), Daren Ganga, Chris Gayle, Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Ridley Jacobs, Neil McGarrell, Corey Colleymore, Pedro Collins, Jermaine Lawson, Ricardo Powell, Daren Brown, Ryan Hinds