Sri Lanka to repeat 1996 World Cup-winning aggression

COLOMBO, Feb 26, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s cricketers want to play aggressive cricket, like they did in 1996, to secure their second World Cup success, captain Mahela Jayawardene said Monday. “We have been playing a pretty exciting brand of cricket in the past couple of years, as our results have shown,” Jayawardene said ahead of his team’s departure for the Caribbean, where the World Cup opens on March 13.

The key to winning the World Cup, according to the captain, lay in being aggressive with both bat and ball, as Arjuna Ranatunga’s Sri Lankans were when they won the title in 1996.

Asked who would pose the biggest challenge in the West Indies, Jayawardene said he would never underestimate the Australians, despite their recent run of five consecutive one-day defeats.

Sri Lankan coach Tom Moody, a two-time World Cup winner with Australia in 1987 and 1999, said a recent visit to the Caribbean to get first-hand information on pitch conditions was very useful.

“The pitches, apart from Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, were very unfamiliar,” he said. “So a lot of adjustments will have to be made.”

Sri Lanka are drawn with India, Bangladesh and Bermuda in group B of the