Cricket: Border ready to be interim coach

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The Independent Online
ALLAN BORDER, a former captain of Australia, will be named as the interim Australian national coach - but remains undecided if he wants the job permanently.

According to reports in Australia, Border will guide the national team through a three-week tour of Zimbabwe next month when the World Cup-winning coach, Geoff Marsh, steps down following the current tour of Sri Lanka. The Australian Cricket Board will apparently confirm Border's interim appointment today.

The 44-year-old, who scored more Test runs than any other batsman, said he was interested in the role full-time, but he still insisted that "a few things had to fall into place" before he decided whether he wanted to take over from Marsh. "I love the game and it's good to have that direct involvement but it's very part-time at the moment," Border said. "There's no point reading anything into it because it's one of those things where I have to wait and see."

Border, who is a national selector, has coached Australia in an interim capacity before, guiding the team through a brief tournament in Sharjah.

The left-hander captained Australia in 93 of his 156 Tests, scoring 11,174 runs at an average of 50.56 before he retired from Test cricket and helped Queensland to Sheffield Shield success in 1994-95.

On the final day of the tour match against the Sri Lanka Board XI in Colombo, Greg Blewett hit a century to lead Australia to a four-wicket victory before tea.

Chasing a victory target of 321, Blewett hit 148, striking 20 boundaries in a superb display of the opener's art that will have put him and the team in good heart as they prepare to face Sri Lanka in the first of three Tests, starting Thursday in Kandy.

Resuming at 39 for 0, Blewett and Michael Slater made use of some ordinary bowling by the Board XI spinners to put together an opening stand of 115. After Slater went, edging a catch to Indika de Saram off the left-arm spinner, Ranagana Herath, for 51, Blewett and Justin Langer added 134 for the second wicket. Blewett's innings ended with Australia on 249.

Although the next three wickets fell for 44, Langer's 52 took Australia to within seven runs short of victory.

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