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Sa'adi Thawfeeq at the SSC
August 30, 2009
Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, has said the century stand between Daniel Vettori and Jacob Oram on the final day gave the home team a few scares and insisted that despite the 2-0 series win, the hosts were yet to reach their peak.
Sri Lanka set New Zealand 494 to chase and began day five needing four wickets to win. However Oram and Vettori added 124 - the visitors' highest partnership of the series - and at end of their stand New Zealand needed another 194 to win. Vettori added 97 more with the tail before they were bowled out. "[At 182 for 6] you expect to go out there and do better than probably we did, but we slacked off a bit in our fielding and maybe we didn't bowl the right areas," Sangakkara said. "It was good to walk away with a win but there are lots of areas to improve.
"Danny and Jacob batted really well. It was quite possible they could have really got close. We were also bowling our overs very quickly and we had to keep an eye on that and try and slow down that as well. Other than that we put enough pressure on them to get the wickets. Once Jacob got out it was going to be a matter of time but as long as Jacob and Danny were there it was going to be an interesting game."
Sangakkara praised Vettori's efforts with the bat and ball but said he needed more support from the other bowlers. "Muralitharan had Vaasy [Chaminda Vaas] to support him throughout. Danny needs to find someone like that to keep supporting him on all conditions. The way he's gone about his business, the way he's improved his batting over the last 12 months, he's just a fantastic player."
Sangakkara also praised the injured Mendis' replacement, Rangana Herath, who took career-best match figures of 8 for 209. "Rangana came as a support bowler for Murali but in the previous Tests [against Pakistan] and in this Test he turned out to be our No. 1 spinner," Sangakkara said. "We are indebted to Rangana for the responsibilities he took on himself and the way he played a part in our victory."
Sangakkara hoped Murali would recover quickly from the minor groin strain he suffered while bowling during the final day of the New Zealand second innings and be fit for the one-day tri-series which also features India. He also looked ahead to Sri Lanka's tour of India later this year and said the team was keen to challenge itself and win its first Test in the country.
"The Indian tour will test everyone mentally and physically and skill wise. If we do our homework right, be confident, prepare as best as we can and go out there looking to win and if our attitude is positive we will do well."