India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Adelaide February 13, 2012

Sangakkara says India vulnerable overseas


There was a time when you dialled Sri Lanka to knock India out of big competitions. They did that famously in the 1996 and 2007 World Cups. They beat India in the Asia Cup in 2008. They knocked India out of the World Twenty20 in the West Indies in 2010. At some time, though, the two teams' administrations became too friendly, and started making the teams play against each other every other day. The sting was taken out of the contest, and familiarity bred some insipidness. That India have been dominating their neighbours of late would be an apt assessment.

Sri Lanka want that edge against India back, especially in matches outside India. A day before their second game in the triangular against India, Kumar Sangakkara said India were vulnerable when playing them in neutral venues. "Our strength has always been playing India away from India," Sangakkara said. "India are always strong in India, with the smaller grounds and conditions they are used to. But away from home we have always done very well against them."

That may be true in neutral venues in Asia, where Sri Lanka have a 7-2 win-loss record against India since 1999 (in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sharjah), but outside Asia India have thoroughly dominated: they hold an 8-1 advantage in that period, with their only defeat coming in a rain-reduced game in Canberra in 2008. For that record to improve, Sri Lanka will have to start batting better. Their bowlers and fielders did a stellar job in Perth against Australia, but the batsmen messed up a chase of 232.

"I think it was close only because Angelo Mathews really got us there in the end," Sangakkara said. "There was a time when we were out of it. It was a case of not building enough partnerships, and losing too many wickets too soon. It is a wicket that was quite flat in the end. We couldn't just capitalise on the opportunity. Once you have restricted them to 230, it's a case of having enough batsmen in the shed by the time you hit the 40th over. We didn't do that."

There are issues in the batting department that will need urgent resolving despite the good form of youngster Dinesh Chandimal. Upul Tharanga is pushing tamely outside off, much like Gautam Gambhir did at the start of the tour. Lahiru Thirimanne at No. 6 hasn't brought much value to the side so far. Sangakkara said the side hadn't made any decisions around those players' future in the tournament. Sri Lanka have long struggled with that one middle-order position with neither Chamara Silva nor Chamara Kapugedera taking the opportunities they were given.

One man who did bring value to that role, especially on tough pitches, as seen recently in South Africa, is out again. Thilan Samaraweera must more be wondering what he needs to do to be part of this team. A few of his team-mates might think that way, but can't comment much on selection issues. All Sangakkara could say of Samaraweera was: "I am not part of the selection committee. That's not a question for me, but he has done extremely well."

Those issues, and many others with the administration, are for another day. Sangakkara said that once the team is on the field, they forget all that. "The greatest thing as a player is to be able to play," Sangakkara said. "Whatever troubles you have off the field, whatever issues you have off the field, when you are on the park I don't think anyone thinks of those things."

It will be a mighty fine job if Sri Lanka can manage to do well despite those issues. And they know time is running out. They also know they should have ideally won one game by now. Now, though, they face the prospect of having to win four out of six games. "You have got to win a minimum of four games to have any chance of qualifying for the finals," Sangakkara said. "Tomorrow is another opportunity."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    india has a very good one day team lankans are no match in any conditions i think third team should be pak not minnows like lanka in 2008 also india aus crushed humiliated lanka in cb series 21 11 to india overseas against lanka and if we take eng aus sa than 16-2 ho ho ho even zim has a better record

  • Dummy4 on February 15, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    I hate IPL now....IT is like virus......IPL is destroying cricket spirit now in the world because of money.........................

  • Manesh on February 15, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    ha ha ha Sangakkara can shut his mouth now and pack up.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    @deepu111. You are talking about 150+ win and 183 runs win over SL.Then what about SL 245 runs win that too make them out 50+ runs. And also SL white washed ENG 5-0 in ODI yers and win against AUS with 2-1 and both are on their back yard only.But overall PAK is better team than SL and IND in ODI as well as Test.

  • Roshun on February 14, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    @ ALL INDIANS. Please do not over react. Kumar has not mentioned anything about the Indian vulnerability. It is only that he has mentioned that SL performs better againist India outside India (that includes in SL as well). That is the actual case. The SL win/Loss ratio is better than that played in India. The press has made a statement just to hype the scenario knowing that the Indian press will go to town about it. Just chill people and read between the lines.

  • Venkatesan on February 14, 2012, 12:06 GMT

    Sangakara should stop making such comments, especially after having dropped a lollypop from Aswin just some time ago now, look to first improve his keeping and, of course, get some decent runs to his name. He's commented about Indian grounds and the strength in Indians in India, i just can't understand how different grounds could be in Srilanka and hope he'd also remember India have defeated Srilanka convincingly, in Srilanka. Overall, it's good for him to perform first and stop talking and pickup qualities from Mahela Jayawardene, whom I regard, as one of the best captains I've seen and some excellent character to appreciate. He always gives more than 100%, captain or no captain. Sangakara, you've got the best person to learn from, right beside you.

  • Dummy4 on February 14, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Sanga said absolutely correct thing,when we consider about South Asian top 3 teams Pakistan,India,Sri Lanka, India can be ranked at no 3 when they are Playing at outside the sub continent. Indian Bowling line up is so bad than other 2 teams is the reason for that.Sri Lankan batting line up is comparably poor than india.But as a Whole Team India is lower than Sri lanka & pakistan at the Outside of SC.that`s the true i think.

  • Saurabh on February 14, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    A tie with lankans is like defeat to us!!!!! And why was a 5 ball over bowled.

  • Ramakrishnan on February 14, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Kumar Sangakkara should first stop talking and start making useful contributions to the team and help his team win. It would not be a miracle if SL makes it to the finals particularly with its team packed with tail-enders who cannot contribute much to the team's cause.

  • Al on February 14, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    I have a soft spot for SL cricket but boy isnt this the Pot calling the Kettle black? You should have said India AND Sri lanka are vulnerable abroad.....Would have gone better...

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