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Monthly Archives: July 2007

Cricket: Silva and Tharanga prop up Sri Lanka

 Image Chamara Silva and Upul Tharanga hit half-centuries to help Sri Lanka reach a competitive 234-6 against Bangladesh in the first one-day international here yesterday.
Sri Lanka were struggling at 67-3 after being put in to bat, but left-handed opener Tharanga (57) and Silva (65) propped up the innings with an 83-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Bangladesh, blanked in the preceding three-Test series, rattled the hosts in the early overs with left-arm seamer Syed Rasel grabbing two wickets and paceman Mashrafe Mortaza one in their opening spells.
Sanath Jaysuriya (21), Kumar Sangakkara (16) and skipper Mahela Jayawardene (two) fell cheaply before Tharanga and Silva came to their team's rescue with responsible knocks.
Tharanga struck seven fours in his ninth half-century, while Silva hit one six and eight fours before being trapped leg-before by Bangladeshi left-arm spinner Abdur Razzaq.

Bangladesh had opportunities to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest total but floored three catches early in the innings.
Sri Lanka suffered a blow when veteran opener Jayasuriya was bowled by Rasel, just two balls after he had hit the same bowler for a six over midwicket.
Wicket-keeper Sangakkara, who hammered back-to-back Test double-centuries, was caught behind off Mortaza, while the Sri Lankan captain played a loose drive and was caught by Shakib-Al Hasan in the covers.
Sri Lanka plundered 70 runs in the last 10 overs, thanks to Tillakaratne Dilshan (24) and Jehan Mubarak (22 not out).
Dilshan was caught by Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful in the covers, the bat slipping out of his hands while he tried to play a shot off Mortaza.

World Cup memories linger in clash of titans

Japan coach Ivica Osim rates the Asian Cup quarter-final clash of the titans with Australia in Hanoi today as the toughest challenge in his time with the Blue Samurai.
But the Bosnian insists revenge for their humiliating World Cup defeat to the Socceroos is not an issue, a sentiment echoed by Australian counterpart Graham Arnold who contends much has changed since last year in Kaiserslautern.
"I consider it the toughest match I have faced as Japan coach and consider Australia, from the objective viewpoint I have about this Asian Cup, the toughest opponents we could possibly meet," said Osim.
"As Brazil won the Copa America title after losing their opening game, Australia may possibly do the same.
"They are on course to get better as a whole and formidable as the opponents. On the other hand, we have not yet experienced a poorly played game."
Australia beat Japan 3-1 in their World Cup opener in Germany with all their goals coming in the last eight minutes. The Asian champions never recovered and crashed out at the group stage. But Osim insists no-one is dwelling on the past.
"It is shocking if you still feel the shock after one year," he said.
"The better team won that match. Japan lacked the right information on Australia. If they are favourites here this year, it means they were not an easy side to beat last year."
Arnold, facing the boot after the tournament regardless of what happens today, concurred.
"It's a totally different competition with different players and different coaches," he said.
"It will obviously be a very difficult game as Japan have shown form."
Arnold is facing a dilemma over whether to leave Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and returning defender Lucas Neill on the bench for the crunch match, and was keeping his cards close to his chest yesterday.
All three players were outstanding in the World Cup game against Japan but Kewell and Cahill have been more effective here as substitutes, while Neill is available after serving a one-match ban for his red card against Iraq.
Arnold would only say that everyone is fit and the mood in the camp is buoyant after their 4-0 thrashing of Thailand in Bangkok last Monday.
"In training, we've played enormously well in the last few days. The players are in an extremely good mood," he said.
"Everyone is fit (except for the suspension of Luke Wilkshire). We have a special team spirit. We're looking forward to being very successful tomorrow."
Australian captain Mark Viduka sees Japan as the clear favourites, but warned the Socceroos would rise to the occasion.
"Traditionally, the Japanese are good as a team, collectively," he said.
"There are quick players and technical players. Their last game was a tough game.
"I think definitely they are favourites, but we also are quietly confident.
Osim knows that stopping striker Viduka will be key to success, with his side much smaller and less physical than the Australians.
"The thing is how to solve the problems of physical size and techniques. These are the two questions for Saturday's match," he said.
"For example, I think about how to stop Viduka.
"In reality, the same players may be assigned to block Viduka as they did last year. But there are other players in the Australian team too.
"They are formidable when they play collectively. They are better in terms of individual capability."
Once again he will be relying heavily on Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura and Frankfurt striker Naohiro Takahara to steer his side to a semi-final against either Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan.