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Cricket

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Cricket-Express bowler Malinga fit for Sri Lanka's World Cup opener CHRISTCHURCH: Slinging express pace bowler Lasith Malinga is fit for Sri Lanka's opening World Cup clash against New Zealand at Hagley Oval on Saturday, captain Angelo Mathews said.Malinga had ankle surgery in September and just returned to action in Sri Lanka's two warm-up matches, against South Africa and Zimbabwe, prior to the World Cup.The mercurial paceman missed the recent series against the World Cup co-hosts, who went on to comfortably win the seven-match ODI series 4-2 to give themselves a confidence boost ahead of the global showpiece."Malinga will definitely play and he is fit to go," Mathews told reporters on Friday, before declining to name his 11 for the opening match.Malinga has been a key component of Sri Lanka's performances in the last two World Cups, where they have made the final both times, particularly at the death with his late swinging yorkers proving unplayable at times.His absence was noticed ...

Sports - Cricket

Sri Lanka desperate to shrug off losing habit CHRISTCHURCH: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has demanded an immediate end to the losing habit that has infected his side in the lead up to Saturday's World Cup opener against New Zealand in Christchurch.The "fighting spirit" was not there he said Friday as he reviewed a disappointing build up to cricket's premier ODI tournament.Despite leading a side stacked with high performers, Mathews has seen his side crash to a 4-2 series defeat against New Zealand ...

Sports - Cricket

McCullum hails 'best-prepared' New Zealand team CHRISTCHURCH: Upbeat Brendon McCullum believes the New Zealand side he leads into the World Cup opener against Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Saturday is the best prepared Kiwi team he has known.The 33-year-old, heading into his fourth World Cup, is not prepared to pick a tournament winner but he has no doubt New Zealand will be in the mix at the end despite their world ranking of six.After winning four of their past five ODI ...

Sports - Cricket

Stand-in man Bailey resigned to making way for Clarke MELBOURNE: George Bailey is resigned to the idea that he may well go from captaining Australia against England in the World Cup opener on Saturday to being dropped from the side altogether for the second match against Bangladesh.Bailey will relinquish the reins if regular skipper Michael Clarke, as expected, proves his fitness for the Bangladesh game on Feb. 21 after coming back from hamstring surgery.A more bitter pill to swallow for Bailey will be losing ...

Sports - Cricket

History man Anderson backs England to end World Cup drought MELBOURNE: England's swing king James Anderson began his international career as a 20-year-old at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and starts out on his fourth World Cup campaign at the same venue on Saturday.Anderson, who is just four short of beating Ian Botham's England Test record of 383 wickets, will be his team's star man as they set out against the odds to land their first World Cup title. Much depends on the 32-year-old Lancastrian to ...

Sports - Cricket

High five a low blow for Fleming, McCaw WELLINGTON: New Zealand sporting legends Richie McCaw and Stephen Fleming found themselves the subject of gentle mockery in their homeland Friday after a bungled high-five attempt during the Cricket World Cup opening ceremony in Christchurch.The pair took to the stage for a game of "backyard cricket" with a group of children, but an attempt to look cool in front of the kids backfired when their high five failed to connect, leaving their arms flapping awkwardly ...

Sports - Cricket

Clarke feared career was finished SYDNEY: Hobbled Australian captain Michael Clarke said Friday he feared his career was finished as he toiled to recover from hamstring surgery.But the 33-year-old veteran, who will sit out Saturday's World Cup opener against old enemy England, also admitted that if he was forced to quit, then he would accept his fate."When scans confirmed I had torn my hamstring (after the last day of the Adelaide Test against India) I thought I might just have ...