Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Colombo, 3rd day March 18, 2013

Sangakkara expects tough finish

Kumar Sangakkara has said Sri Lanka have tough work ahead of them on day four if they are to avoid an embarrassing score line on a Premadasa pitch that is becoming difficult to bat on. Bangladesh finished the third day 52 runs ahead with six wickets in hand, as the surface grew handier for the slow bowlers with each session.

Sri Lanka had two opportunities to have the visitors at least five down at stumps, but shelled two catches late in the day to help keep Bangladesh in the match. Nuwan Kulasekara grassed a chance at mid-on when he parried an aerial stroke from Mominul Haque, before Angelo Mathews dropped a low catch off Mushfiqur Rahim at slip soon after. Both chances came off the bowling of Rangana Herath, who took three of the four wickets in the innings.

"It would have been brilliant to have them five down," Sangakkara said. "We had the opportunities, though a close decision also didn't go our way towards the end. We've got ourselves to blame. One was quite an easy chance, and one not so easy. It's important, because we want to go into a fourth or fifth day in the last innings with as little to chase as possible. Rangana Herath did a great job again, and the fast bowlers held their own - especially with the slightly older ball. I think they bowled quite good, but a lot of work [still needs] to be done, and chances to be held, if we want to really get on top tomorrow.

"The pitch is not too bad for batting at the moment, but there's a bit of inconsistent bounce and the wicket's a bit two-paced, with the outfield quite sluggish. All of that makes run-scoring a bit difficult. Maybe the bowlers will fancy themselves a chance of tying a batsman down, and then building pressure to try and get him out."

Sangakkara said Sri Lanka's spinners would be the key to knocking over the final six wickets cheaply, and singled out Herath as the man most likely to inflict damage. Bangladesh have one more recognised batsman in Nasir Hossain, who is yet to take guard, but Sohag Gazi at no. 8 and Abul Hasan at no. 9 are also capable of playing significant innings.

"If there's more turn tomorrow, I think both Dilshan and Rangana will be important for us," he said. "You saw that even in the first innings when the wicket was supposed to be seaming around, it really wasn't. It was Rangana that got us those five important wickets, so he's always going to be an important bowler."

Sangakkara also gave credit to Sri Lanka's fast bowlers, although they have taken only five wickets in the match among the three of them. On day three, the pace attack was largely disciplined, with only Shaminda Eranga threatening to take a wicket.

"The fast bowlers I thought bowled well in partnerships, and as they keep playing - they're quite an inexperienced attack - they'll get a lot better. It's about bowling in partnerships on this track. It's not a wicket that you can come in and blast the opposition out. You have to bowl tight lines, set tight fields, and stop the batsman scoring."

Sangakkara was dismissed, somewhat controversially, in the morning, having made his third consecutive hundred in the series. The third-umpire referral took almost six minutes, as officials attempted to determine whether Sangakkara had edged a ball from Abul Hasan, before eventually giving him out. Sangakkara was philosophical about his demise, but said he was satisfied with his 139.

"It was a strange five minutes, from the delivery to the referral, to [then] being given out. But that's the way cricket goes. Some go your way, some don't.

"Every hundred I score is equally special. I really don't judge if this was better or that was better. Whatever the situation the team is in, you [have to] go out there to score some runs. That's the way to get the team out of a bad situation. My thinking pattern was just to go out there and bat. It was not a wicket or an outfield when you can go out there and play your strokes. All I thought was that I'm just going to wait and make sure the bowlers get tired, and that I'm still hanging around when they do."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    I like the way the Lankans treat Bangladesh. There is no in your face celebration by the wicket taking bowler. The elder stars (Sanga) are always full of encouragement to the Bangladeshis. This is what makes SLanka my favourite team. The other teams and their fans (mostly our Muslim brothers from Pakistan)

    are too busy telling the world why the Tigers shouldn't be playing in the elite league. But this is the only way u get to learn how to play with the big boys. The bush league games will never do it. Pakistanis so easly ignore the fact that a big group of their stars make a very good living playing in our domestic league.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2013, 3:29 GMT

    It's always a pleasant feelings to watch Sangakara to bat unless he plays against your favourite team.

  • Shamalka on March 19, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    World Class! That's all what I have to say about this man!

  • Neranjan on March 18, 2013, 23:55 GMT

    I think Sangas caught behind is doubtful, although there were no evidence to support the edge, 3rd umpire did gave him out. There were not enough frames per second to detect any edge, and all the replays were not that conclusive, from the behind angle camara it was evident that there were broad day light between, and the front on camera would say there might have been a deviation, just by looking at there contradictory evidence the umpire gave him out. This was a major decision and no-body had the guts to stand opposing this.

  • Syed on March 18, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    Just shows the inly difference between these teams is a worldclass batsmen... Sangakarra... otherwise both these teams are average and the same.

  • Benazir on March 18, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    Missing Shakib here. He would have been really handy with his batting and wicket taking abilities.

  • Rakibul on March 18, 2013, 18:16 GMT

    Although I want BD to win or at least draw this match, I have TREMENDOUS respect for Sangakkara...what an amazing player! May be tamim or musfiq can learn some tricks from him..!

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2013, 17:34 GMT

    "All I thought was that I'm just going to wait and make sure the bowlers get tired, and that I'm still hanging around when they do"-- what a philosophy !! just sums up how to bat in tests in testing conditions..

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