ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

New Zealand v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2011, Mumbai

Sangakkara keeps faith in inconsistent middle order

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mumbai

March 17, 2011

Comments: 30 | Text size: A | A

Kumar Sangakkara in pursuit of Mahela Jayawardene, World Cup, Mumbai, March 15, 2011
Kumar Sangakkara is not too worried over his misfiring middle order © AFP
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Players/Officials: Kumar Sangakkara
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Teams: Sri Lanka

Kumar Sangakkara is not yet sweating over an inconsistent Sri Lankan middle order. Even a dependable batsman like Mahela Jayawardene has stuttered in the World Cup, logging just 134 runs in four completed innings, 100 of which came against Canada. In three innings Angelo Mathews has 39, Thilan Samaraweera 61, Thisara Perera 22 and Chamara Silva has 61 from two innings including a half-century.

Except in the rain-abandoned match against Australia, Pakistan are the only strong opponent Sri Lanka have faced so far. Chasing a challenging total of 277, Sri Lanka got off to a good start with Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga adding 76, but the hosts lost control immediately as four wickets fell for just 20 runs in seven overs. Sri Lanka have just one match left to repair those mistakes before the quarterfinals.

"When the time comes, the guys will step up," Sangakkara said, shrugging off the idea that the middle order had some work to do. "We had probably one bad game against Pakistan. We looked pretty solid against Australia and the other games, the middle order didn't have much to do. So the real test will come and the guys are very capable of stepping up in those games for us."

The fact that batsmen in the lower middle order - Mathews, Perera, Silva - have not spent enough time in the middle is not causing any distress for Sangakkara. "If we can win matches with just the top order, I think that is good enough for us. But if the middle order needs to come in, that's why they are selected because they're good enough to do the job. Failures do happen. So that's the way cricket goes. You take those opportunities and do as much as you can. If you cannot be successful, you try and learn and get better."

Sangakkara said it was important the Sri Lanka don't lose the focus going into the knockouts. "You know, when you play in a World Cup, past doesn't really matter and it's exactly what you do when the game comes. For us, it's going back to the basics and probably we cover all our bases and take the opportunity."

Many captains, including Ross Taylor, Sangakkara's counterpart for tomorrow's game, have stressed that a victory in the final group clash would provide the momentum going into the quarterfinals. Sangakkara differs. "Every side likes to build momentum and take it into the really important stages. At the same time sides also might not win in the final first-round game and won't be too much worried about it. The quarters, semis and the finals are the one that really count. Therefore, what happens just before does not really matter, unless it takes psychological toll on that particular side."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 18, 2011, 11:05 GMT)

Australians are hard to beat because of their fielding and running between the wickets. They are fit and however good you are in batting and bowling if you are a weak fielder you have no place in the side. Glenn McGrath was a weak fielder at the beginning but he improved tremendously and took some splendid catches in the out field threw accurately. The batters convert ones into twos, twos into threes and threesinto fours all add up.They fight to the last.

Posted by Fadzai on (March 18, 2011, 10:46 GMT)

From the look of the game, Sri Lanka is definitely struggling esp. with the run rate. Way too low but hopefully they will pick up in the later overs if the middle order does well.

Posted by Nataraj on (March 18, 2011, 8:44 GMT)

Middle order is not a big worry for SL . they have two worldclass players in sangakkara & Mahela and mathews as an genuine alrounder to backup and he is a crisis man & reliable.

Posted by kumara on (March 18, 2011, 8:32 GMT)

Who can believe middle order of Sri Lanka cricket team? I think Sri Lankans do not have any chance to assay of their middle order batsmen especially in this kind of a contest. The biggest mistake they have done so far is dismissal of Sanath jayasuriya from 15 squad and replace useless Chamara Kapugerada as a middle order batsmen. Chamara Silva is very very slow and at the moment he is not good for the test matches as well. Both of them can't act as a alternative bowlers in the special occasions and are useless selections by Sri Lankan cricket selection committee. I believe They don't have much time to rehabilitate their previous mistakes and only thing is they should keep their attention on front line of Sri Lankan batting order to make big scores during the up coming important matches.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 18, 2011, 8:10 GMT)

Anyway all the best guys. Hope you can do this

Posted by Randhika on (March 18, 2011, 8:08 GMT)

I think what Sanga is trying to do is not to build up unnecessary pressure and to keep it simple.... Hoping to watch a good match... im pretty positive our boys (SL) will put up a good show... Gud Luck SL You can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jayawewa!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Lakpriya on (March 18, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

SL middle order didn't get the chance to prove their worth in any other games other than the Pak game. Why everyone is trying to make a fuss of this. So called Indian Superhero batting lineup crumbled twice without too much pressure, but yet people talk SL batting who haven't been bowled out even once in this tournament so far. It is true that they haven't been fully tested yet in this series so far. Hope NZ give them a good run for their money.

Posted by Inshaf on (March 18, 2011, 6:52 GMT)

Im too dissapointed abt our middle order...but still if mathews and silva can fire up in the sloggy overs..dats enough...This Time for Sri Lanka

Posted by Kasun on (March 18, 2011, 5:45 GMT)

What inconsistent middle order???I mean all the teams in the tournament have been inconsistent.Australia and Sri Lanka are the only sides who have been somewhat consistent.Even in the Pakistan game they got 89 runs in the last 10 overs without Sanga,Mahela.And lost by only 11 runs.I think Sanga is enjoying this.It is better not to be favorites as Murali and Sanga clearly said before the WC.Sri Lankan middle order needs a chance in the middle.And with Samaraweera in the middle and Silva coming through fighting,it looks really solid.But we only can show the facts after they get a proper outing(that is if they get a chance with the solid top order).

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 18, 2011, 4:53 GMT)

I agree with shamil perera, Dosent matter u r middle order score runs and post a total beyond 300 !! Writer has posted what middle order has scored but he didnt take the match situation and ground size in to concideration. Its not 53 or 56M grounds we have here in Sri Lanka my friends all the grounds are touching 81 or 82 Meters. So miss hitis edges dont go for boundires my friend. If u r top order is scoring and the middle order didnt get much of strike in the middle often, they tend to have low avg. What do u really expect from them ??? Canada match top 4 scored and batted till 40 odd overs / kenya match top 3 completed it / zimbabwe match openers scored 184 / aussie match washed away !!

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