Mark Waugh Feels for Slater

Mark Waugh Feels for Slater

Post by Vicky B. Vigneswar » Mon, 15 Jan 1996 04:00:00


Mark Waugh's career-best one-day score of 130 helped Australia to
a  comfortable  83-run  victory over Sri Lanka in Perth today and
guaranteed them a place in the best-of-three World Series finals.
Openers  Sanath  Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana gave the Sri
Lankans a flying start to their pursuit of Australia's  50-  over
total  of  266 for six, putting on 56 off just 66 balls.  But the
loss of four wickets for just 11 runs  left  their  challenge  in
tatters and they finished on 183 for nine.

Waugh, promoted to open  the  innings  in  place  of  out-of-form
Michael  Slater,  dominated an opening stand of 189 off 216 balls
with captain Mark Taylor, who made 85.  It beat the previous Aus-
tralian first-wicket record stand of 182 compiled by Rick McCosk-
er and Alan Turner during the 1975 World Cup.   Waugh  hit  three
sixes,  including  one  off  medium  pace  bowler  Pramodya Wick-
ramasinghe over long-off, during his 151-ball innings.

Medium pacer Stuart Law began the Sri Lankan collapse when he in-
duced  Jayasuriya  to  edge a catch to wicketkeeper Ian Healy off
the final ball of his first over.  Law then won a leg before  de-
cision  against Aravinda de Silva with the first ball of his next
over. Kaluwitharana and Roshan Mahanama followed in quick succes-
sion.   Sri  Lanka,  bottom  of  the World Series table with four
points from six games, must win their remaining  two  matches  to
qualify for the finals.

Mark Waugh admitted his magnificent World Series cricket  century
against  Sri Lanka as an opener last night was a "bit of a worry"
for his dumped friend Michael Slater.  But if the  gifted  right-
hander  had  his choice, he would have preferred the glorious in-
nings to be pencilled in at number three and not  as  an  opener.
Waugh  was  well  aware  that his hand, which is only bettered in
Australian records by Dean Jones' 145 against England in 1990 and
Greg  Chappell's unbeaten 138 off the New Zealand attack in 1980,
could jeopardise the World Cup aspirations  of  New  South  Wales
teammate and close friend Michael Slater.

Waugh was elevated to opening the innings with captain Mark  Tay-
lor  after Slater could manage only 51 runs at an average of 8.50
in the six previous games. "There is a bit  of  a  worry,"  Waugh
said,  when  asked  if  his  innings  closed the door on Slater's
hopes. "Slats is one of my best mates and I'd love to see him  go
to the World Cup and whatever, but ... Yeah, it's a tough one be-
cause they gave me a job to open and I scored runs.  Whether  I'm
going to open or not in the World Cup, I don't know. They haven't
spoken to me about it so we'll take each game as it comes."

Few could blame the selectors if they do persist with Waugh as an
opener on the sub continent, further damaging Slater's chances of
making the final 14-man squad to be named on January 22.  In  six
knocks  at  the  head  of  Australia's  batting lineup, Waugh has
scored 60, 57, 0, 108, 83 and 130 at an average of 73.  Waugh was
far  more  restrained  than usual early in his innings, but broke
free once he was settled and smashed three huge sixes over  long-
off  from  the  bowling  of  Ruwan Kalpage, Kumara Dharmasena and
Pramodya Wickremasinghe.  He was an  outside  chance  to  eclipse
Jones' 145 until a mix-up with Stuart Law off the opening ball of
the 50th over, which was  called  a  wide,  led  to  his  demise.
Waugh's  ability  to build his innings and consistently find gaps
was outstanding.

"I don't think there's much difference to batting three and open-
ing  to  be  honest. When you bat three you could be in early any
time so it's actually harder batting at three because  you  might
have to wait around," a modest Waugh said.

Making Waugh's effort even more meritorious was the fact that  he
was  struck three painful blows in the same spot on his left leg,
resulting in him arriving at  the  post  match  press  conference
sporting a big ice pack. "Actually I got hit first ball which was
given a run and then got hit twice more. It's  sore,  but  it  is
just  bruised so it won't be any problem for next Tuesday," Waugh

Summarized from Reuter and AAP reports