Sri Lanka v New Zealand, tri-series, 2nd ODI, Dambulla August 12, 2010

Sangakkara lauds disciplined New Zealand


Kumar Sangakkara believes New Zealand are tough opponents because of their discipline, which he said was an attribute other teams should pick up from Ross Taylor's side. New Zealand lack the big names of the other two teams in the tournament but started off with a crushing victory over India, serving notice to anyone under-estimating them.

"The great thing about New Zealand is they are very competitive," Sangakkara said before the start of his team's practice session under lights. "They play very orthodox, very structured cricket. Strategies are set and they always try to execute those strategies. That's the discipline that I think we can all learn from New Zealand.

"It's very important in Twenty20 and one-day cricket now that you have applied executable strategies out in the middle that everyone understands and everyone can execute according to their own abilities. New Zealand does that probably the best in the world, so that makes them a very tough side."

The discipline and strategy are particularly important when batting second in the challenging conditions in Dambulla, where the team batting first has had a distinct advantage in recent matches. "It's not mostly skill, it's about being mentally attuned to what's happening there and being ready with not just one but two or three plans," he said.

The tournament is seen as a part of the team's fine-tuning ahead of the World Cup but the pitches in Dambulla aren't the traditional subcontinental flat tracks. "Playing in conditions like this is very good for us because when it is a challenge, you got to relish it," Sangakkara said. "The harder the things you have to do out in the middle, the improvement becomes faster. For us, that is how we are going to look at this tournament."

One aspect of Sri Lanka's cricket which will be closely watched is the spin bowling. With no Muttiah Muralitharan around, it's a chance for any of Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath to establish themselves in the side. "It depends on the opposition we are playing," Sangakkara said when asked about the first-choice spinner. "Depending on that, we will pick one or the other [Randiv or Mendis]. We got Rangana Herath in the wings as well. So each time we will make sure that we play the right combination for the opposition unless there is a huge difference in form between the bowlers."

New Zealand had gone in without a spinner in the first match, but that could change in case Jacob Oram fails to recover from his hamstring problem. "We have a little bit of a niggle with Jacob Oram, just a tight hamstring, hopefully he can recover well tonight, we'll see how he goes tomorrow," the captain Ross Taylor said. "He's an outstanding bowler for us, top-10 in the one-day rankings, if we were to lose him, it will be a huge loss but it will be an opportunity for whoever comes in."

A win on Friday will virtually put New Zealand in the final, but Taylor was not looking that far ahead. "I don't want to get carried away, it was one victory and the team played well. Sri Lanka are a difficult opponent in their home conditions and we have to come out with the same attitude and the same intent in the next game, we know if we do that we give ourselves a good chance."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2010, 14:34 GMT

    @ निश्चल तिवारी

    you get that wrong , SL have good winning rate with NZ

  • Srijith on August 13, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    "New Zealand lack the big names of the other two teams in the tournament..." -- who are the big names from SL in the current team? The last big name I can think of was Aravinda de Silva and Jayasurya. The current team has none -- the closest to a big name I can think of in the current team is Mahela Jayawardene. Sangakarra is highly overrated -- being articulate does not mean he's a thinker or a great captain.

    Most of India's matches against NZ (historically) have been close -- probably because NZ's style of play is unpredictable - to me they are a street smart bunch who does very well against tough teams --some of their matches against the Australians are ample proof of how good they can be on a given day.

  • Arjun on August 13, 2010, 10:33 GMT

    Dont think too big of NZ:

    Sanga has some attitude. He now became India hater. NZ's performance is good but not great. They are not world beaters. No way. Its easy to bat first and win in Lanka wickets. But only INDIA i repeat only INDIA won batting second (Asia Cup).

    Somehow Sanga do not accept Indian wins over Srilanka.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    Whatever Sangakkara said, its just meant for his fans to know that he is an intelligent thinker of the game.........but only off the field......never on the field... his decisions or rather lack of them on the field sometimes make me think of him as a dumbstruck captain....

  • Chandani on August 13, 2010, 9:00 GMT

    I am sorry !! Sanga, you have become a big talker. You seems to be a very very ordinary captain. May be one of sri lanka's worst captains. You are not in the caliber of Arjuna, Mahela, or Marvan, who were our best inovative captains. Sanga is a good talker and a good presenter. I am sorry talking alone will never make you a good captain neither will it make Sri Lanka a good team. He is one of the most defensive captains that the country had. We lost the 3rd test to India because of him, otherwise if Mahela, Arjuna or Mavan were the captain we could have atleast made a game of it. I am sorry Sanga !! Its time that you give up the captaincy and only play as a batsman, where you are really good at !!!

  • Amahl on August 13, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Hopefully Sanga's words are lived up to on the field. They can't afford to underestimate NZ who seem to really get performances coming from somewhere. I think Nathan McCullum will come in to bolster the spin department with Williamson as his deputy. I do think though if it is a dry wicket which is bound to turn and SL bat first, they will win. If not, the NZ spinners will be tested and I think the game will be a lot more interesting.

  • Steven on August 13, 2010, 8:32 GMT

    C'mon Black Caps! Watch out for the Slinga as usual, but today it will be Guppy's day with the bat. I hope we chase down a total and prove we can do it any where, on any pitch, not matter what the score!

  • Fadzai on August 13, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    It will be great to see New Zealand in the finals. Way to go Ross and company....but all the best to Sri Lanka though

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    Classic Sangakarra, shoots his mouth off as usual before his first match. I wouldn't be too surprised if India get up and knock the wind of both SL and NZ. Funny game this cricket!!

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    While I differ about Indunil's comment on Dilhara, as he has forgotten that we won some matches in the last world cup due to dilhara's bowling. I agree Kulasekara would be a very good replacement for Vass as a test bowler who has some resemblence of the nagging accuracy of Vass.

    Also Sanga you did not have any strategy to win the last test ( 3rd) in the series. Your field settings were pathetic and you are from the old school when it comes to tactics , not innovations, no studying of batters and their weaknesses.

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