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Mahela denies  'misbehaviour' allegations

Rex Clementine  reporting from Melbourne

Denying news reports that misbehaviour by some players was the reason for team's poor showing in Australia, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene told journalists that he had no reasons to grumble about the discipline of the players. Media reports from Colombo alleged that some players have been partying till late during the tour, but Jayawardene denied the reports.

"I haven't encountered any misbehaviour and I don't have any issue with anyone's contribution. These allegations come without any proof. As far as I am concerned, everyone was focused on cricket," Jayawardene said at a media briefing at the team hotel in Melbourne, on Thursday. With the finalists of the Commonwealth Bank Series tri-nation tournament already known, today's last group game between Sri Lanka and Australia at the MCG will be of little interest. But Jayawardene said the game provided the Sri Lankans the opportunity to put a few things right.

"Teams do go through situations like this, when a few guys are not in form. But these are talented cricketers. They have been working really hard and you can't take anything away from them. We just need to try and have as much confidence as possible, work harder, get together as a team and come back strongly, because we have got some exciting tours ahead of us," he added.

He also mentioned that Sri Lanka will be playing for pride, having managed to win just one of the seven games they have played so far. "No team wants to lose four-five games in a tournament and not have a successful run. Every game we play, we play to win and give it our all. Things haven't gone our way and we have one more chance to rectify matters."

Today's game will also be Adam Gilchrist's last against the Sri Lankans, against whom he has always done well. The Australian vice-captain has scored close to 1500 runs against them and averages 49:24, which is much better than his career best average of 35:95. Of Gilchrist's 16 hundreds, six have been scored against the Sri Lankans.

The MCG is not slotted to host any finals and that means this will also be Gilchrist's final appearance at Australia’s cricket headquarters.

Sri Lanka named 13 players for the game leaving out Upul Tharanga and Chanaka Welagedara, which means the left-arm seamer leaves for home having not played a single game in the series. Although Farveez Maharoof was named in the side, he's unlikely to feature in today's game as he's nursing a side strain.

Australia (Probable XI): Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting(Captain), Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Michael Hussey, James Hopes, Brett Lee, Brad Hogg, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Bracken.

Sri Lanka (From): Dilruwan Perera, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene(Captain), Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Chaminda Vaas, Ishara Amarasinghe, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Muttiah Muralitharan.

 

 

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