August 16, 2001

Sangakkara: It feels good to get back in form

Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper batsman, Kumar Sangakkara who made an unbeaten 105 and helped his side consolidate their position in the first Test Match against India at the Galle International Stadium was delighted with his maiden hundred today, "It feels quite good. Not only because this was my first one, but also considering the fact that I haven't been among the runs for a while. So I am glad that I contributed to the team at the end."

Sangakkara has got out in 90s on two occasions, once against South Africa at the Centurion Park and the next at Kandy against England. This time too there was the scare that he might not get there, but at the end he managed to get to the three figures, "I actually was nervous, because I was running out of partners. I had to decide how to rotate the strike and then when Murali came to bat he just said we'd take it as it comes and see what can be done. It's good to get that hundred."

However the left-handed batsman refused to single out one particular knock as the best of his short career, "I like the 98 in South Africa. The 95 in Kandy also was important considering the position we were in. There was a quite a bit of pressure here as well. Every single time you get runs you feel pretty happy. So I can't single out one particular innings," said the wicket-keeper batsman.

Sangakkara singled out Venkatesh Prasad as the most difficult Indian bowler out of the lot, "I think it was Prasad," said Sangakkara. "He was bowling very well with the old ball. He was quite accurate though wasn't the quickest. But once again he made up for the lack of pace by his accuracy"

On the overall Indian bowling performance he said, "They bowled well but they gave us too many bad balls and took the pressure off us."

Harbhajan Singh ended up the innings with just one wicket and was not threatening as expected. That can give a big boost Sri Lankan batsmen since there are two more matches to be played in the series,"Harbhajan is a good bowler. I was lucky to get a life when Dravid dropped me off his bowling when I was on eight" remarked Sangakkara. "Though he bowled well, we handled him pretty well. He bowled about 30 overs and we are happy that he just gave away one wicket for him. That gives us the confidence that we can play him in the future games as well."

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