Friday, December 25, 2009

Sangakkara: India are beatable

Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara feels that India are "beatable" and blamed their defeats on losing key performers intermittently.

India beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the Test series to jump to the top of the Test ranking and have already sealed the one-day series by taking an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Sri Lanka lost at least five key players at different stages of the tour and Sangakkara said it was a big factor contributing to their defeats.

"It's always tough to make changes 10 minutes before the toss. Especially, when he is your best performing bowler.

"First Test, half an hour to the start of the game we lost Thilan Thushara."
"Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) is gone, Angelo Mathews was a huge blow, while (Chanka) Welegedara had a groin injury to sit out in the Eden one-dayer yesterday," Sangakkara lamented.
The Lankan captain said they fought well in all the contest and it's not that they were outplayed by India.

"India are a very capable side. But at the same time, they are beatable. All the four (one-day) games have been won or lost on few things here or there. I think it's a good Indian side but we can take heart from the fact that we are still competitive," said Sangakkara.

Sangakkara went down the memory lane to reflect on the matches they could have won and took solace from the fact that at least they put up a good fight against India.

"We had opportunity in the first Test. We were not really penetrative with the bowling to win the Test series. But ever since, I have started playing in this side, we have further more competitive in ODIs in India.

"Chasing 415, I think we should have closed down the game (in Rajkot that India won by three runs). That was the easier game to finish off then winning second game (in Nagpur that Sri Lanka won by three wickets chasing 302).

"We have always been in winning position from the four ODIs. In Cuttack, we were at a commanding position at 165 one (in 22.2 overs) but only to get bundled out for 239. Probably, it has been a tour of what- ifs. We have always been competitive that must have worried the Indians," he said.
Asked about their loss yesterday even after posting a handsome 315 for six, Sangakkara without naming Lasith Malinga said his most experienced bowler did not bowl a good line and length.
"If you see wagon wheel, the batsmen have scored on all side of the wicket. While defending a total, you need to make sure bowl line and length and on one side of the wicket and try the batsman hit on one side of the wicket.

"The one bowler who had experience could not bowl one side of the wicket. 315 on any track is a fighting total. Upul Tharanga batted exceptionally well and he batted long enough for everyone bat around him," he said.

"(Thissara) Perera in his debut game really provided the acceleration that we needed. But where we lost the game was we could not take wickets." he rued.

Malinga was the most expensive Lankan bowler conceding 75 from his 9.1 overs without any wicket.
Even though Indian players including stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag felt that Sri Lanka made a big mistake by opting to bat due to dew factor, Sangakkara defended his decision.
"If you bat first, you want to get over 300 and we did.

There was no problem in the decision. We got two early breakthroughs while defending. But again, our best bowlers on this tour have been three debutants -- (Chanka) Welegedara, (Suraj) Randiv and (Suranga) Lakmal.

"That goes to show that the experience guys really have to good look at themselves since there is a lot of competition for places now," he said.

Drawing positives from the tour, Sangakkara said finding a few exciting players augurs well for their team.

"The batting of (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, (Upul) Tharanga, the debutants who came in and put their hands up, showing a lot of responsibility... the way (Angelo) Mathews played goes on to show that he is one of our better players this year.

"Once we have full squad we have to make sure that the guys who performed well here combine well with them to make a very strong side hopefully when we go to Bangladesh.

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