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November 27, 2009
Click here to listen to the press conference
Sri Lanka came into the series intending to secure their maiden Test victory on Indian soil but were left with a lot of soul searching to do after they were thrashed by an innings-and-144-runs in the second Test in Kanpur.
Though India ran up 642, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara defended the selection of three spinners. "If we had won the toss and batted first on the wicket and got a decent amount of runs on the board our spinners would have been quite a threat on this track," he said. "It would have been very hard to score runs off them as well. The chances that we did create were not taken by us, allowing the Indian batsmen to get away on a really flat track. 400 runs on the first day was a little too much."
The main concern for Sri Lanka was the inability of the world's leading wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan to provide the breakthroughs for his team as he had done till the recent past. Murali went for over hundred runs for the second time in two Tests; so far in the series his returns are five wickets for 396 runs, average 79.20. "It does become a concern when your star strike bowler is not really picking up the wickets you know he can, but he is still the best bowler that's played the game," Sangakkara said. "You still have to have faith in him and trust him and back him 100% to do the job because he is going to do it at one point, hopefully in the next Test."
The Kanpur defeat was the largest in terms of runs to India but Sangakkara remained optimistic that he had the bowlers to win in Mumbai. "We have the potential to pick 20 wickets with the bowlers that we have," he said. "Potential is one thing really doing the job is another. We would like a bit more penetration with the spin.
"With our fast bowlers we always created opportunities, the disappointing thing is we haven't really taken those chances twice in the first over in two Test matches, especially this one on a track that was one of the flattest we've played on.
"We've still got a lot to achieve in Mumbai. We can still equal the series and finish one-all. That's a great motivation for us. Disappointed with today's defeat, but that's the way cricket goes. If you don't play well enough you lose and you've got to accept that responsibility but still move on. You have no one else to blame. You got to look at the 16 players in the dressing room and say that we were just not good enough. We were outplayed by India who were a better team in this Test match.
"It was a good toss to win for Dhoni the first day the wicket was going to be the flattest and it got slower and slower as the game progressed. If we probably had kept India down to about 450 in the first innings it would have been a chance for us to come back, but 600 runs on we were always chasing. Bad batting in our first innings put us into trouble."