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December 21, 2008
Kumar Sangakkara, the wicketkeeper-batsman, believes the Sri Lankan Test team has benefitted by having him play as a specialist batsman and letting Prasanna Jayawardene take charge behind the stumps. Sangakkara remains Sri Lanka's first-choice keeper in the limited-over games, while Prasanna has been impressive with his glovework behind the stumps in the longer version.
"We have got Prasanna Jayawardene who right now would be the best keeper in the world by far," Sangakkara told the Daily Star. "He's doing the job for us. So it is a win-win situation for everyone."
Prasanna, 29, has played 21 Tests for Sri Lanka. He averages 26.78 with the bat, and has also taken 41 catches and 15 stumpings. Prasanna was superlative standing up to the two spinners, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, during Sri Lanka's last Test series, against India at home in August. Although he made his debut in 2000, Prasanna only featured in five Tests till the home series against South Africa in mid-2006.
Sangakkara was the keeper for Sri Lanka in the period, but his increasing vital role with the bat made it necessary for him to hand over the role to Prasanna. The move has worked wonders, with Sangakkara raking up big scores consistently since then. "Statistics show that I bat better when I don't keep in Tests," Sangakkara said. In 48 Tests as a keeper, Sangakkara's average is 40.48, which soars to 83.05 in the 28 Tests he has played as a specialist batsman.
Sri Lanka are in Bangladesh for a two-Test series and a tri-nation ODI tournament. However, foggy conditions ruled out play on the first day of their only tour game, against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI. The weather has also hampered the team's outdoor practice sessions.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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