Sri Lanka v India, 1st Test, Galle July 17, 2010

We should not get carried away by Murali's farewell - Sangakkara


As Muttiah Muralitharan prepares for his farewell Test, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has cautioned his team not to get carried away by the occasion and instead concentrate on beating India in Galle.

"As a team, the best we can do for Murali is to make sure we don't get too overwhelmed or carried away with what's happening but concentrate on really giving him a good farewell by playing a great match out there," Sangakkara told reporters on the eve of the first Test.

"The danger always is that you get distracted. The key is not to resist what's happening around you, but just to relax and enjoy it and not worry about so many things. You've got to understand it. There is nothing that our team won't do for Murali. He's done so much for us this is just a little thing that we can do for him."

The return of Lasith Malinga to the Test side after almost two-and-a-half years, since he suffered a knee injury, Sangakkara said, was a major boost to the side; Malinga's last Test appearance was against England in December 2007. "Malinga's worked so hard to get where he is now it's a credit to him that he is out there fit and ready to play," Sangakkara said. "It gives us a huge X factor and that's really important going into a Test match. He is a guy who can trouble any batsman in the world with his variation. We look forward to him to try and make an impact. If he doesn't, just him being a part of our side gives a big boost."

Sangakkara also confirmed Ajantha Mendis, who was left out of the squad for the first Test but bagged 6-67 in the tour game against the Indians, would return for the second Test at the SSC in Colombo. "Ajantha has just shown in that practice game that, no matter what anyone says about him, he is one of the best spinners in world cricket. He will continue to be that and he's probably found out a few more things that worked for him," he said. "If we have guys like him and Lasith all in the mix, it gives us huge chances of beating other countries. When he joins us in the second Test, he will have a great chance of proving a point to everyone and making sure that he is up to the task when entrusted with it.

"We've got quite a strong squad and different combinations to pick from. The key is to make sure we pick a good combination if we have to take a couple of risks doing that. We've got to do it and make sure we get the basics right - put runs on the board and allow our bowlers to try and put pressure on the Indian batsmen."

Sri Lanka boast a strong batting line-up until No.7, though, it will be interesting to see who will partner Lasith Malinga if they opt for a bowling combination comprising two fast bowlers and two spinners. Left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedera, who made his Test debut in Galle three years ago, looks likely to play, but he will be under considerable pressure from Dilhara Fernando and Dammika Prasad. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath could be Murali's spin partner.

When asked how the game would cope after Murali's retirement, Sangakkara said: "Cricket, like life, goes on. It didn't stop for anyone. There's been (Don) Bradman and (Garry) Sobers, all of them have come and gone and cricket's gone on. The only good thing is that when players like Murali and the other greats like Bradman and Sobers play and go, they leave cricket a better place."

He also lauded Murali for overcoming several challenges, especially the scrutiny over his bowling action. "He is one gutsy determined guy," Sangakkara said. "I don't know who didn't believe in him or who doubted him. I've known there have been many people around the world but for us there was absolutely no doubt. Even before [Ross] Emerson and [Darrell] Hair, we had no doubt in our mind that he was the best bowler in the world, he's absolutely clean.

"It would be interesting to see how other bowlers around the world could go through such rigorous testing, bowling with a cast on their arm; whether they can stand up to that scrutiny and come away with it, not just with a clean action but a strong mind."

Murali is eight short of 800 wickets in Tests, and Sangakkara said if he achieves that milestone, his team will probably have taken a 1-0 lead. "The eight wickets (he needs to get to 800 Test wickets) is the farthest thing from his mind. For him it's winning this match for us. We are just going to let him run free and just enjoy himself. If Murali takes eight wickets we will probably win the game."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 22, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    u r right sanga. murali got 8 and we won won. we should end up this 3-0

  • Music on July 18, 2010, 9:03 GMT

    What a great fast bowling attack ishant,mithun wah remind me of mcgrath,brett lee combination.BULLSHIT....Even zaheer would have not been injured they have bullshit fast bowling India is no.1 wid such worst bowling attack.Definitely india will slip down to no.3 in dis year 2010 n aussie will replace them.I m 200 percent sure aussie will replace them.Lets see now how ind will win against aus.Rebuilding of aus team is now almost complete.

  • Ned on July 18, 2010, 4:13 GMT

    well this reminds me a bit of steve waughs farewell, the team got slightly caught up in the whole hype of the end of a legend.

  • amaresh on July 18, 2010, 2:53 GMT

    First of all the team is Ok. I don't believe in Thilina Kandambai. But Tharanga would have been included. But Paranavitharana is also ok for the slot. Then win or lose it all a game. It is not a 50 or 20 overs match to talk about win and lose. BUt nothing to worry about the No.1 cricket rating. To be frank I feel that India got the points to stand as No.1 team. Thats all. Missing Zaheer Khan is a big issue. Other than that India is ok. But i am not satisfied with SriLankan fast bowling attack. Anyway This game is to Murali. I feel like Murali will go in a passion. "This time for Murali". Not to India

  • Shanthal on July 17, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    This will be an intriguing Test series... and I wish Murali had decided to play through the entire series... it would have been another accomplishment to add to his hat, deliver a Test win against the so-called No. 1 ranked Test team. India are paper-champions, even in full-strength India has not done anything outside of India to warrant the No. 1 position... and that will all be put to bed when they tour South Africa and play Steyn and Morkel on some green tops! But let' not get carried away and keep our eyes on the matters at hand. As for overconfidence? tha' India's trade mark. Given the BCCI' obsession with trying to maintain top position, I hope it all backfires on them... from T20 Champs to nothing, Test No.1 to where?

  • Prasad on July 17, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    Sri Lanka has a great bowling line up (Malinga, Murali, Welagedara, Mendis, Herath, mathews)- far, far better than India. Even when Murali retires, there is Mendis and Herath. It is a shame that a country that once produced Chandra, Prasanna, Bedi, venkat, and Kumble is quite bare bowlingwise. This again is due to lack of vision of selectors. Spinners need sustained encouragement and Indian spinners these days get no support from selectors or captain. One need to look around the country and pick spinners when young and sustain them. Murali Karthik is perhaphs the best spinner in India after Harbhajan. But where is he?. It is a tragedy of sorts. In fast bowling Mithun and Unadkat are talents who need encouragement. But will they get it?. Someone like Mithun needs a mentor who tells him that test bowling needs hostility (like Melchom Marshall). Just bowling fast won't do. Similarly lack of vision of Indian selectors will ruin Indian batting unless they bring in a Pujara, Rohit etc.

  • Ashirvadh on July 17, 2010, 22:46 GMT

    we will all miss Murali. he was a great player. it was good he retired now since his performances were starting to wane a little. even though im an indian supporter i want Murali to get 800 wickets. he will probably be the only person in history to get it.

  • Dummy4 on July 17, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    It is not always easy to beat a subcontinent team like India in the subcontinent itself. Sangakkara should not forget the ability of Indian batsmen. It is not easy for SL bowlers to take 20 Indian batsmen in three days time to take 1-0 lead. The result could be either favor of India or draw.

  • Dummy4 on July 17, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    I dont get the point who is over confident, probably india is overconfident, many a times they more speak about ICC Rankings. Sri Lanka its your time, to prove you are genuine match winners.

  • Dummy4 on July 17, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    Subash...May be you are over confident about India. Have you forgotten the last time they played tests in SL? If not for Sehwag it would have been a white wash :)

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