* By Christopher Boyd
* FOX SPORTS
* February 14, 2011 10:22PM
Former Australia World Cup-winning players believe Sri Lanka pose the biggest threat to Ricky Ponting's side's chances of securing a fourth consecutive World Cup trophy.
While India look destined to start the tournament as favourites following their 38-run win over Australia in Monday's warm-up match, it's their subcontinent neighbours who have caught the attention of past Australia players.
When asked by Inside Cricket host Brendon Julian who would win the ICC Cricket World Cup, Fox Sports panellists Mark Waugh, Damien Fleming and Greg Blewett unanimously backed Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions and 2007 finalists, to prevail.
Fleming, a member of Australia's victorious 1999 squad, suggested Australia's staggering 27-match unbeaten streak in World Cup competition would face its greatest test from Kumar Sangakkara's side, with the teams scheduled to meet in a Group A match on March 5.
"It's always tough in the subcontinent because the host countries play so well over there," Fleming said.
"I am a little bit worried about our (Australia's) middle order against spin."
Fleming said that while Sri Lanka's pace attack looked fragile, a long batting order and a bowling attack led by spin legend Muttiah Muralidaran made Trevor Bayliss's team the danger outfit at the co-hosted tournament.
"He's got a great record all round the world, particularly on the subcontinent," Fleming said of Muralidaran, who will play in his last World Cup on home soil.
"They've also got Mendis (Ajantha Mendis) there, the mystery spinner, to help him out. Spin will be a good option.
"We saw it in the practice game against the Australians. If the Aussies are going to win, their middle order is going to start against spin and they're going to have to score quickly against spin.
"With their (Sri Lanka's) long batting order I think they're also going to be able to chase down big totals."
Waugh, a three-time World Cup representative, agreed, pointing to Australia's middle-order capitulation against India as a danger sign ahead of their opening match of the tournament against Zimbabwe on February 21.
"The worry was the middle order against spin bowling was a bit shaky so we have to fix that up," he said, before tipping Pakistan as the "darkhorse" for the tournament.
"We play well under pressure and we have some experienced players there, but the subcontinent is going to be different - we are going to have to play a different brand of cricket.
"Mike Hussey is such a big loss, he's our best player in the middle order.
"There's a few ifs and buts for the Australia team but I am pretty sure we'll get to the semis."
Sri Lanka have proven a worthy World Cup adversary for Australia before, having defeated the Mark Taylor-led Aussies at the 1996 World Cup to secure an inaugural World Cup crown.
Former Australia batsman Blewett tipped Sri Lanka captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Sangakkara to be one of the stars of the tournament.
"He's just one of those guys that can control the temp through the middle overs," Blewett said.
"He's a class player, and that's what you need in World Cups - you need your best players to stand up.
"Whether it's Test cricket, Twenty20 or World Cups, this guy is an absolute superstar."