Malinga and Murali targeted

Mind games before the World Cup final have continued, with Ricky Ponting saying Australia will target Lasith Malinga and Sri Lanka’s spinners.

He says then intend to preserve wickets against the quicker bowlers, and aim to score heavily off Murali and part-timers Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, his words were: “If you lose early wickets, then you allow Murali and those sort of guys to come into the game and that’s when you are at your most vulnerable, our whole plan this week will be to get through the new ball as well as we can and keep wickets in hand for the middle period when Murali, Dilshan and Jayasuriya and those guys are going to be bowling. We can be a bit more aggressive and a bit more positive against them and try and put their slow-down sort of guys through the middle, put them under a bit pressure.”

Murali, Vaas and Malinga were all absent from the Super Eight clash between the two sides, a move which met criticism from many quarters. This means that tehre may well be an element of mystery surrounding the unorthodox Murali and Malinga, thought Ponting is confident the world’s leading spin bowler can be dealt with.

“Everyone knows what he does. He is doing one thing differently now against us than he has done in the past and that’s bowl around the wicket.”

Ponting also suggested the pressure of a World Cup final may get to Malinga, saying: “It will be interesting to see how it starts actually, for someone like him who is relatively young in the game, in a World Cup final it mightn’t be that easy. Things might not go to plan for him right from the start. But for some of their younger players that, of course, is what we are going to try to do. We are going to try to put them under pressure.”

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