Aussies mystified by Vaas and Murali absence

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, April 16, 2007 (AFP) – Australia’s Andrew Symonds admitted he was stunned to see Sri Lanka rest frontline bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan from their World Cup Super Eights clash on Monday. Australia face New Zealand in their last Super Eights game here on Friday

Symonds smashed an unbeaten 63 as the world champions wrapped up a comfortable seven-wicket win at the Grenada National Stadium.

Both sides had already made sure of their places in the semi-finals but Monday’s result made it almost certain that Sri Lanka will avoid the defending champions in the last four and will probably face New Zealand in Jamaica.

Australia, as probable Super Eights winners, look destined to play their semi-final in St Lucia against either South Africa or England although West Indies still have an outside chance of getting through.

“It’s not the way we would have done it but they’re a different team,” said Symonds on the decision to rest Vaas and Muralitharan.

“They are key players. It can affect confidence when you do that.”

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene defended the decision to rest the duo which immediately weakened an attack already without injured seamer Lasith Malinga.