Sangakkara keen to iron out glitches
Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara is buoyant after his team's come-from-behind win against Pakistan at Galle, but has said there is a lot of work to be done, especially in the batting department.
"We fell very short of our expectations of what we can do. It's a great victory for us as a side but there are a lot of things we have to work on. We have to be very mindful of the fact that we can't get overconfident with one win. We've had one very good day today, other than that we were behind Pakistan," Sangakkara said after his team snatched a 50-run win in the first Test. It was a dream debut for Sangakkara as Test captain after taking over the mantle from Mahela Jayawardene.
"It was a great effort by everyone, especially with thinking and ideas. It was great to have Mahela in the side. He made a huge contribution especially through the crucial periods when little doubts arise in your mind. Mahela stepped up and he was very good with his advice and his thinking."
Sangakkara pinpointed the areas which demanded immediate attention. "We've got to figure out where our off stumps are, what our mindset should be when facing new bowlers we haven't seen before, how to be as patient as possible and how to work through tough phases. We have to work on these quickly," said Sangakkara.
With 97 runs to get and eight wickets in hand, Pakistan were in the driver's seat, entering the fourth day, but Sangakkara said they had never given up hope. "We knew if we were to have a chance the first five to six overs were going to be crucial," Sangakkara said. "We needed two to three wickets and we got them five down. We never expected it to happen so quickly. The way Rangana [Herath] and Thilan [Thushara] bowled was spot on. They put the balls in the right areas, they were patient and they worked very hard for their wickets."
One of the important decisions for Sri Lanka was the choice of bowlers to start off with on the fourth day. Sangakkara admitted he was tempted to go with fast bowlers from both ends. "The final over or two to [Mohammad] Yousuf swung the decision in favour of Rangana and Thilan," Sangakkara said.
The two bowlers dealt telling blows, grabbing four wickets for just nine runs in their initial spells. "Thilan was a bit more disciplined in the second innings," Sangakkara said. "His key was to keep on bowling using his arms in the run up and try and hit the deck in the right areas. He was a lot more disciplined and thoughtful in the way he bowled. That was the major difference. He bowled very well in both innings but just that little change in mindset was the key."
"All credit to Rangana, he's been a magnificent performer in domestic cricket and in Test cricket for us, whenever he's had a look in. He has been very successful against Pakistan especially when we played in Pakistan. Rangana is in fact, the best Test spinner after Murali and Mendis."
What was most commendable was that Sri Lanka achieved the win without their two main strike bowlers, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas. "At some point or the other we have to come to terms with the fact that we can't always have the legends playing and winning matches for us," Sangakkara said. "The things Murali and Vaasy have done especially bowling in partnerships its going to be very hard for anyone to come and match those performances. But there are a lot of people who are on the right track maybe they won't reach the same standing in world cricket as those two but I think they will still win us a lot of games."