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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Betting on an Australian Win

My bets are on Australia wining tonight. True to Sri Lankan form, and if kottu is the form guide, the world cup has caused an epidemic in the normally fever ridden Sri Lanka. Something I cannot even imagine in current day Australia, well suburban Melbourne at least. More people seem to be interested in this weeks AFL games than the cricket, except for the Lankan migrants of course, perhaps its just the arrogance of victory. However, today’s newspapers have been all about Sri Lanka.

This time around it seems to be all about Big Respect for Sri Lanka. Something, if memory serves me correctly, unimaginable a decade ago where Sri Lanka hardly even rated in the pre-final news coverage. But then a decade past a fierce and at times spiteful rivalry has formed between the two aggressors on the fields where the sounds of leather on wood echo around the world through the hyper channels of networked life.

So who will win in this metaphorical battle between David and Banda? Lets have a look. Australia, a team of extremely talented individuals, that has been physically dominant and competitively ruthless on it's way to the finals or Sri Lanka, again an extremely talented and artistically majestic but at times has been susceptible to psychological laziness on route to the final.

On paper the bowling attacks appear to be well matched, though Maharoof's average is (9 at 22) is not really up to Bracken's (15 @ 14.93). It's the batting that is a cause for concern. The top order differences are marked; (Aus) 64.81 vs (SL) 44.02 and the SL top order have just not shown the confidence that the aussies have. The information markets are in favor of Australia too with AUS @ $1.37 and SL @ $3.20 to win. Looking at the recent past meetings, Sri Lanka's wins against Australia in the VB series have been under exceptional performances where Jayasuriya has fired and Dilshan and Murali stepped up. eventually when Australia finally put the foot down Murali ended up with the worst figures of his career and the kangaroo had knocked out the lion.

What would it take for SL to Win? Well In My Uneducated Opinion (IMUO), they will probably have to bring the A+ team to the game. Jayasuriya or someone else capable of dominating the attack would have to plunder the Aussie attack. I haven't seen enough SL matches to figure out who this might be (but I did see Kapugedara show signs of Jayasuriaesk flashes, perhaps for the next world cup). Sangakarra would probably have to bring his game face on. Most of all they will have to break the Aussie psyche. To this end the psy-ops so far may be a positive. By resting the bowlers it has many of the players talking about it, then there has been Sangakarra and Moody's retort to the Aussies commentary and finally Ponting was kept waiting yesterday. The tactics are not the same as with Ranatunga but then Mahela is not him.

Ultimately what are the chances of Sri Lanka winning? My head, and the markets say Australia and that's where I place my Money. Like many aussies with divided allegiances my heart is with Sri Lanka in the cricketing field. Good luck to the Sri Lankan team.


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