Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Sangakkara quietly confident ahead of ODIs

Brydon Coverdale

November 2, 2010

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Kumar Sangakkara and his team-mates on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, October 26, 2010
The Sri Lankans began the tour on a high, by climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and they are hoping to maintain that lofty feeling © Getty Images
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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

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Posted by sri1ram 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

Posted by   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!

Posted by Nujee 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.

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 22:12 GMT)

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

Posted by DINESHCC 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

Posted by Pathiyal 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.

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 7:42 GMT)

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

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 7:37 GMT)

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

Posted by   on (November 2, 2010, 7:36 GMT)

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

Posted by   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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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Nov 7, 2010
Australia won by 8 wickets (with 170 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Sydney - Nov 5, 2010
Sri Lanka won by 29 runs (D/L method)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Melbourne - Nov 3, 2010
Sri Lanka won by 1 wicket (with 34 balls remaining)
Australia v Sri Lanka at Perth - Oct 31, 2010
Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets (with 21 balls remaining)
NSW v Sri Lankans at Sydney - Oct 27, 2010
Sri Lankans won by 22 runs (D/L method)
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