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20-Feb-2011 09:32:00 GMT
Sri Lanka v Canada, Group A World Cup, Hambantota

Sri Lanka Elect to Bat Against Canada

Hambantota: Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara won the toss and decided to bat against Canada as the 1996 champions launch their World Cup campaign at a new stadium on Sunday.

Sangakkara believes Sri Lanka will have too much firepower for minnows Canada. Despite having little knowledge of Canada, and of the ground in the tourist town of Hambantota, Sangakkara is confident his team will make a bright start.

Sri Lanka will be without middle-order batsman Chamara Silva, whose elder sister died on Thursday, making way for all-rounder Thisara Perera to bolster both bowling and batting.

Sri Lanka, runners-up in the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, go into the tournament in good shape after comfortable wins in their two warm-up matches.

All of the side's batsmen - except for Mahela Jayawardene - had good workouts in the build-up and are likely to relish the inexperienced Canadian bowling attack.

Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Angelo Mathews and Perera will lead the pace attack but Muttiah Muralitharan's off-spin is likely to cause the most problems for the Canadian batsmen.

The leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals, Muralitharan, with 519 wickets in 341 matches, has fully recovered from knee problems.

Canadian captain Ashish Bagai admitted his team faces a big challenge.

Consistent rain has given little time for the pitch to settle down but it is likely to help slow bowlers.

Besides Bagai and Davison, Rizwan Cheema and Sri Lankan-born Ruvindu Gunasekera lead the batting in the 15-man squad, which includes players born in India, Pakistan and Uganda among other nations.

But whether Davison, who initially walked away from the squad because two experienced players were excluded, can find his top form at the age of 40 remains to be seen.

The two countries have only met once before, with Sri Lanka mauling Canada, dismissed for 36 - still the lowest total in a World Cup match - by nine wickets at Paarl in the 2003 World Cup.

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