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'SL's middle order a concern' - Ranatunga
February 4, 2011
Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has said that Sri Lanka need to strengthen their middle-order batting if they are to be successful in the upcoming World Cup. Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup, picked India and Sri Lanka as his favourites for the tournament but said Sri Lanka needed to re-look at their batting order.
"We have an all-round side. The bowling looks really good with [Muttiah] Muralitharan and [Lasith] Malinga," Ranatunga told Reuters. But the middle-order batting is a concern for me.
"Kumar [Sangakkara] and Mahela [Jayawardene]should not be batting at No. 3 and 4. One of them has to come down to No. 5 to bolster the middle order. Maybe they should send [Chamara] Kapugedera up the order to No. 4."
Sri Lanka usually have Thilan Samaraweera and Kapugedara at No. 5 and 6, with allrounder Angelo Mathews to follow. Samaraweera and Kapugedara have strike-rates of 68.75 and 72.86 respectively, while Mathews, who is yet to play a World Cup game, has a much healthier strike-rate of 80.92. Mathews was Sri Lanka's second-highest run-scorer in their three-match ODI series against Australia in November last year, with a strike-rate of 92.79, the best among their frontline batsmen. But Ranatunga says that Mathews alone cannot solve Sri Lanka's middle-order problems.
"Angelo is a very good player but he is still very young. It will be too much pressure on him."
Sri Lanka open their World Cup campaign on February 20 against Canada in Hambantota.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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