Cricket: Lara is happy with team morale

THE WEST INDIES believe they are finding form in the World Cup at just the right time.

"We are progressing well after a pretty slow start," said Brian Lara, the captain, yesterday after a practice session before today's Group B game with Scotland in Leiecster. "We played much better against New Zealand and want to keep that going."

Lara was taking no chances when he arranged an early practice session at Grace Road to ensure he would be finished in time to watch the European Cup final.

He requested a net at 9am, telling organisers that he had to be back at his hotel by 3pm to watch his friend Dwight Yorke play in the big match in Barcelona. When officials later told him it was a 7.45pm kick-off Lara said he must have been working on Caribbean time.

Lara batted in the nets with his problematic wrist heavily strapped but he said there was no chance of him being rested ahead of Sunday's big game against Australia at Old Trafford.

Australia's captain, Steve Waugh, has urged his front-line bowlers to give their all in the last two World Cup qualifying matches.

"I'd like to think the specialist bowlers can bowl better under pressure. We had a good meeting with the bowlers yesterday and I'm pretty sure we can fix up what happened the other day," he said.

Australia have lost two of their first three games and are in real danger of missing out on the Super Six stage of the tournament.

Waugh added that the pace bowler Glenn McGrath would continue to be used as first change in the Group B match against Bangladesh in Chester- le-Street today. There had been reports that McGrath was unhappy and wanted to bowl with the new ball.

"He's bowled OK without bowling really well. He knows he can bowl better so I think you'll see a better performance from him in the next couple of games," Waugh added.

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