India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day December 6, 2009

Absence of review system hurt us - Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's captain, has lamented the absence of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the Test series against India, which he said cost Sri Lanka "over 500 runs". The UDRS - or lack of it - once again figured prominently at the media conference after India beat Sri Lanka by an innings to become the top-ranked Test team, with Sangakkara saying that the three-match contest was the best advertisement for having the review system.

"Not having the review system cost us over 500 runs and a lot of wickets. It always puts a lot of pressure on the inside," he said. "You've got to accept the fact that we were outbowled and outplayed but not to have the review system when every other side in the world is using it and when the ICC had said yes that all sides will be playing with it, it becomes an extra handicap. It cost us quite a huge amount of runs in this Test and the last one."

India's captain MS Dhoni has yet to play in a series where the UDRS was used and found it difficult to comment too much. "I don't think it is foolproof still. It has its own advantages and disadvantages," he said. "We can try and get it foolproof by at least try and make it give 90 percent correct decisions."

The system is being used in the two other Test series currently under way, between Australia and West Indies and New Zealand and Pakistan. The decision not to use the system in India was made known shortly before the series began and Ratnakar Shetty, the Indian board's chief administrative officer, said at the time there was "nothing to explain" about the BCCI's decision to not use the system for the series. India originally supported the implementation of the UDRS but were reportedly dissuaded by the players, who have reservations about the effectiveness of referrals.

Sangakkara was of the opinion that Sri Lanka were a better side than what the 2-0 series score line indicated. "2-0 is a realistic score line the way the Indians played and the way we played especially in the last two Test matches. But we are a better side than what the score line says," he said. "We got to accept the fact that if we don't play well enough we are going to be placed in situations like these. We need to put big totals on the board but at the same time you've always got to find ways to bowl the opposition out under those totals. In this case in all three Test matches we were unable to do that."

"We were mostly outbowled. We created chances right along but catching at crucial times let us down. We were never able to continuously put pressure on the Indian batsmen. Our fast bowlers sometimes created chances but then onwards it was a tough graft. India was always ahead of the game when it came to their batting."

Sangakkara admitted that Sri Lanka's bowling lacked firepower. "The ability to bowl maiden overs is a huge plus that's the entirety of your bowling plan," he said. "You try and keep the batsman on strike for as long as possible. In the second Test we bowled only five maiden overs in our entire bowling innings.

"That just goes to show that it's always tough when you cannot tie a batsman down for more than an over from one side it becomes very difficult to exert continuous pressure. It's more the singles and stopping the singles and keeping batsmen on strike. If singles are going as well as the boundaries then you are in a bit of trouble. We tried as many fielding options as we could in the Tests but it didn't work."

One of the biggest disappointments for Sri Lanka was the form of Muttiah Muralitharan, who ended the series with five wickets after conceding 591 runs. Sangakkara singled out Murali's inability to bowl with the SG ball as a factor. "That handicapped him with the bounce and the amount of turn that he can expect off the pitch," he said. "That's probably the main factor and [also] India are the best side in the world against spin. That's the two main reasons why he hasn't been successful."

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