Cricket: Australia, Sri Lanka call truce

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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA AND Sri Lanka said yesterday they had made peace and plan to seal their new relationship over a drink after tomorrow's one- day international in Colombo.

Australia's captain, Steve Waugh, ended a lengthy rift on the cricket field between the two countries when he said: "I do not have a problem with Sri Lankan players and I am sure they have no problem with us. There might have been one or two things said in the past, but there is one or two things said between any side when you play international cricket. I have already talked to Sanath [Jayasuriya] about having a drink with the Sri Lankan players after the game."

Jayasuriya, the host's captain, also said he had asked his squad to go out and have a drink with their opponents.

Several incidents have strained relations between the two sides. Australian umpires called Sri Lanka's off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing during games in Australia, while in 1996 the Australians refused to play a World Cup game in Sri Lanka, saying they were worried about security.

The leg-spinner Shane Warne also generated friction in May when he wrote a newspaper column saying that cricket would be better off without Sri Lanka's former captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, because of his on-field behaviour. Warne was reprimanded, fined and handed a suspended two game-ban.

"You will continue to see us play tough on the field, but there is not a problem between the sides," Waugh said.