Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne November 2, 2010

Sangakkara quietly confident ahead of ODIs


Kumar Sangakkara knows his side has the momentum and he is aware Australia are struggling, but he is not getting carried away with the idea of leading Sri Lanka to their first series victory in Australia. The visitors dominated Sunday's Twenty20 match in Perth and on Wednesday they will begin their 50-over campaign against an Australian outfit missing Ricky Ponting.

Only South Africa have a better win-loss ratio than Sri Lanka in 2010, while Australia are sitting third, despite their disappointing recent form. The Sri Lankans are the third-ranked ODI side but they can jump into second position if everything falls into place during this series, even if South Africa beat Pakistan in the UAE.

"The confidence is high and good, but at the same time we understand it's a different format," Sangakkara said. "Basically we're trying to go back to the drawing board and see what we can do better, what the challenges will be out there tomorrow. I'm sure the Aussies will be trying to come at us even harder after the Twenty20, so we've got to be ready for that.

"We'll look forward to each game with a lot of anticipation. No matter what happens in the series this is going to be a great experience for us. We're playing the best one-day side in the world. We're basically out here to take on that gauntlet and see whether we can come out on top."

As well as the opportunity to challenge the reigning World Cup holders, the trip gives Sri Lanka a chance to refine their preferred side ahead of next year's World Cup on the subcontinent. One of the most impressive things about their Twenty20 win was the efforts of less experienced players, including the Man of the Match Suraj Randiv.

The presence of Muttiah Muralitharan means Randiv won't necessarily play all three matches, but he is one of several newer squad members around whom the Sri Lankans are planning their future. Sangakkara said there should be opportunities during the ODIs for some of the less experienced players, who will be pushing for World Cup selection.

"Suraj Randiv has been with us not even a year now," he said. "He has improved in leaps and bounds, starting as a one-day offspinner and then becoming our premier spinner in Test cricket once Murali retired.

"Jeevan Mendis, a left-hand middle-order batsman who bowls spin for us, Thisara Perera, Dammika Prasad, who's been with us for a while - all these guys are very good, able players who have proven themselves over the last two years in the level below international cricket and are here doing a lot of good things for us."

The Australians also have some new faces, including the fast man Mitchell Starc, the allrounder John Hastings and the spinner Xavier Doherty, but Sangakkara was not worried about his side being surprised by the unfamiliar men. "There are quite a few new guys," he said, "but we're trying to concentrate a lot more on what our strengths are."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sri on November 3, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    JANAKA ABEYWARDHANA, SA and SLKA were tied at 115 till yesterday, but after Pakistan's unfortunate choke against the title holders ("chokers"), SA moved to 116. Wow, never been so excited about the spate of ODIs about to follow in the coming months. For the first time Australia's lead can shrink and the next four nations are all within 2-3 points of each other - so it can be a race to the top two slots. Aus 4294 130 Ind 3993 117 RSA 2672 116 SLKA 3458 115 Engl 3147 112

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    @DINESHCC, no disrespect but I am surprised you mentioned pakistan in the list of countries that will win their in the future after the thrashing the aussies gave them at the start of the last summer. Good luck to sri lanka though, hope they can give it to the aussies!

  • Anuj on November 2, 2010, 22:45 GMT

    I think sri lanka are an awesome odi team. India also have a good team but sri lanka are better balanced and as an indian......i envy you guys. Best of luck. go smash em.

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2010, 22:12 GMT

    According the the rankings page SL are 4th in the ODI rankings not 3rd?!

  • DINESH on November 2, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    From 70s to 1995 Windies team was the super star team and no team could succeed in the windies soil. In 1995 under the captaincy of Richie Richardson WI suffered its series loss. Thereafter almost all the teams got series victory in Windies excepting Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Now it is the turn of Australia. The downfall arleady started in 2009. In another few years every team fancy their chances of series win in Aus. Already SA had won the series there. England will achieve the same in another two months time. India, Pakistan, SL will do the same in the coming years

  • Vinod on November 2, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    yes, kumar's team is looking so well-balanced. i wont be surprised if they pull out a series win now. looking forward to a couple of fine knocks from the ever brilliant Mahela. all the very best for them.

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    GO Sanga!!! All The Best and Congradulations on Sunday's T20 Win!

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    Well said Sanga,, good luck with the match!!!!

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    We need a good match sri lankan lions!!!!

  • Dummy4 on November 2, 2010, 7:26 GMT

    Sri Lanka have a strong middle order as well as Dilshan with great bowlers to back them up. They're a great team that could beat anyone in any form of the game - especially ODI's. Australia does not have class players anymore and probably won't win much in the next few years. And by the way I am Australian. Looking forward to the ashes and the big bash!!!!!!!!!!!

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