ODI Tri-series: Sri Lanka look for win against Australia

Having finished so close in their last two games, the Lankan Tigers will be looking to end their winless streak when they take on an Australia in the tri-series one-dayer in Brisbane on Friday. Lying at the bottom of the points table, the closest Sri Lanka got to a win in the series was the nerve-wrecking tie against India in their last match.

But the islanders, unpaid for the past several months by their Board, have shown the stomach for a fight and they might just get the elusive win to show for the hard work so far when they take on Australia, which will have an old guard in Ricky Ponting as captain. With Clarke out nursing a hamstring strain and the selectors not too confident about vice-captain David Warner, Ponting has been handed the job he quit last year.

The City of Bridges would have brought back mixed feelings for Manoj Tiwary. On India’s last tour here in 2008, he realized his childhood dream of wearing an India cap. Unfortunately, his One-day debut proved to be a nightmare. Drafted into the playing XI within hours of his arrival, the nervous Bengal batsman scratched around for 15 deliveries, scoring just two runs before Brett Lee rattled his stumps with a deadly Yorker, writes The Times Of India.

Now that he has forced his way back into the Indian team, scoring a splendid hundred in his last game against the West Indies in December last year, Tiwary is keen to prove himself on the bouncy pitches in Australia. “It feels good to be back at the Gabba. This is the place where I made my One-day debut, so this place is a bit special,” Tiwary told TOI.

For Rahul Sharma, it has been an agonizing wait these past few days. Having impressed in the opening game of the triseries against Australia in Melbourne, the tall leg-spinner unfortunately suffered a split webbing which has kept him out of action. The 25-year-old, however, expressed optimism on Thursday, saying he is well on his way to recovery.

“It’s healed quite a bit and I should be ready in time for the next game on Sunday,” Sharma told TOI. The leggie’s figures of 1/44 in the rain-shortened match against Australia may not look that impressive, but he stood out at the big MCG when he was asked to bowl in tough situations. He even forced two edges that didn’t carry to the fielders.

Meanwhile, former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds on Thursday announced his retirement from all forms of professional cricket. The 36-year-old temperamental player cited family reasons for his decision to quit cricket. He would not be playing for his IPL side Mumbai Indians this season in the wake of the impending birth of his first child.

And Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has found himself in a new controversy after actor Meera claimed that she had a year long affair with the speedster, who never appreciated her commitment. “It was an intense affair and I wasted one precious year of my life waiting for him,” she said. Though, Shoaib has denied the charges.