Sri Lanka tour of Australia 2010 October 16, 2010

Sangakkara looking forward to Australian test


Sri Lanka's build-up to next year's World Cup continues when they leave for Australia on Sunday to play a three-ODI series. One of the biggest challenges ahead of Kumar Sangakkara and his team is winning next year's marquee tournament, and thereby emulate the achievement of Arjuna Ranatunga's side which won the World Cup in 1996, the last time it was held in the subcontinent.

"When you play sides as good as Australia, if there are any small weakness they are highlighted. It will be interesting to see how far we've come over the last one-and-a-half years," Sangakkara said. "Every tour has brought improvement. What those improvement areas are, sometimes you identify at practice but sometimes they are more obvious in games."

The Australian tour and the home series against the West Indies starting next month gives Sri Lanka their only opportunities to work on the grey areas and finalise the batting slots and the bowling combinations ahead of picking the final squad for the World Cup.

The return of legendary offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan is a tremendous boost to the team, according to Sangakkara. "There is no substitute for Murali. We saw what he did in the last Test that he played against India, the amount of fire and enthusiasm he has, the challenge he took to take eight wickets. That kind of attitude in a side does wonders. He is the best team man that I have played with. He has no ego, he is always team first and him second.

"To have that kind of person in the side helps us to bond together, helps everyone communicate better and also lifts us as a team. To make any impact in the World Cup or any tournament for that matter that kind of energy, enthusiasm, never-say-die attitude is vital."

The injury to key allrounder Angelo Mathews, who is recovering from a knee strain, has altered the team combination for the Australian series. "We have to wait and see how we can play our combinations because if Angelo Mathews cannot bowl on this tour he can still hold his own easily as a batsman," Sangakkara said. "It also means that we'll have to play our old combination of three specialist fast bowlers and one spinner."

Sangakkara himself was fighting to be fit for the tour after tweaking his left hamstring at practice two weeks before the team's departure. "I am almost back to full fitness after a couple of days running at full pace," he said. "It looks very good at the moment I just need to make sure that I keep working hard at my rehab and getting my muscles stronger because hamstring injuries can recur."

It was on the same left leg (but a different side) that Sangakkara suffered a hamstring injury when Sri Lanka last toured Australia in 2007.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Lalith on October 23, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    I need tough competitive cricket. I do not care who wins. I also need SL drums, SL music, SL songs & other SL entertainments at Sydney Cricket ground on 05-11-10. Please all SL supporters, come with wearing your SL Jersey, SL Cap, Banners, Flags and most importantly, The Sri Lankan Flag. Make SCG like your own ground in Sri Lanka. Also after the match please all gather outside the ground and play drums, sing and dance for 2 hours. We do not get this opportunity every year. ( Remember we did last time in 2008) Go Lions go go !!!!

  • karthik on October 22, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    SL - Aus matches are meaningless when they play in Aus...They dont have the fire power to beat Aus in Aus as Ind did in the last ODI series in Aus...

  • karthik on October 22, 2010, 5:08 GMT

    your team is not worth for more than two test series abroad...that too you get to tour eng, aus, sa...once in a decade....shame on u

  • Ranjan on October 22, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    Friends Aravinda is a good cricketer, but when comes to World cricket Sachin is the master, same way Akthar, Lee are best bowlers but Murali is world class so at the moment no player can be compared with Sachin he the the Master... any way hope srilanka will play wel in Australia and good luck for Sanga and Team

  • Dummy4 on October 21, 2010, 21:43 GMT

    @cenitin when did you last see sachin score a century in a world cup final, Which arvinda did.

  • Dummy4 on October 21, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    Wow all this makes me laugh & sad. Laugh cause both sides (in fact all subcontinent fans) have few pundits for fans with short memories to stone their heros when they fail, worship them when they triumph & quick to jump on a winning band wagon. For them the freedom the web media has given is like giving a knife to a monkey, that can only do harm. I am even inclined to think someone in the media starts this with a few bad comments, then sit back & watch us fight. Their hit count goes up & they make money!! In reality I think majority of the true fans respect both teams, & adore their superstars. As for the recent animosity between the teams, what do you expect when they play each other so many times? It's like a married couple fighting all the time, when they are stuck in one room. If they played other teams (AUS/ENG/SA needs 2 give SL tours) they'd come to respect each other more! Sadly this theory of playing other teams is only good advice for Cricket, not for real marriage lol!!!

  • Dummy4 on October 21, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    @NISH67 - Agreed totally with your comments. @cenitin- I am in no way under estimating Sachin's talent as a player,but its not correct to assess a player's caliber purely based on average.If so Sangakkara and Mahela are way better players than Aravinda.I am sure that you won't agree with me if I say Sanga and Mahela are better than Sachin based on averages.Its not just averages.Especially considering how few test matches Sri Lanka played til late 90's(I can show you the stats if you want).Players like Aravinda had very little chance to prove how good they are because of less opportunity.Even now Sri Lanka doesn't get enough opportunity to prove themselves at the longer format of the game.So purely comparing Sachin's stats who played so many tests with a player like aravinda's (even if it is averages) is a huge mistake.If you are still not convinced, you can compare the number of ducks Sachin has made and the corresponding number for Aravinda.

  • Ruwani on October 20, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    @NISH67: ABSOLUTELY.....I agree with you 100%.

  • nishantha on October 20, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    The age old argument of who is better than whom has no consequence here . I have read a few mind boggling theories on this forum especially by CENITIN . The crucx of the matter is that this article in no way concerns India or Tendulkar . Some people are so obsessed with Tendulkar that they have to drag the poor guy into every forum to soothe their own flagging egos . Aravinda was and still remains to this day Sri Lanka's best batsman - post test status . His peers have given him that recognition and several eminent past cricketers , too numerous to mention here have done so as well . CENTIN is entitled to his personal opinion about Attapattu but he - attapattu will be the first to admit that Aravinda was streets ahead of him as a batsman of pedigree . Aravinda's stats may pale in comparison with several of today's players but as a batsman of quality , he was second to none !

  • Bridget on October 20, 2010, 1:22 GMT

    Sangakkara has always been my favourite SL player. He also tells it like he sees it. IMO he is probably the best player in world cricet atm....especially if you include his additional responsibilities of captain and keeper.

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