Sri Lanka v India, 2nd Test, SSC

Sangakkara reposes faith in depleted attack

Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Colombo

July 25, 2010

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Ajantha Mendis bowls at training, Nagpur, December 17, 2009
Ajantha Mendis troubled the Indian batsmen in the tour game, and will be aiming for a repeat © AFP
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Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has reposed faith in his depleted bowling attack for the second Test. The hosts are without the two bowlers who won them the first Test in Galle by sharing 15 wickets: Muttiah Muralitharan has retired, while Lasith Malinga has been rested due to a stiff knee. Sri Lanka will bank on the services of Ajantha Mendis, who replaces Murali, and could bring in Dilhara Fernando for Malinga.

"Malinga is a big loss to be honest," Sangakkara said in a pre-match press conference in Colombo. "He troubled all the batsmen. With Malinga everyone was trying to survive rather than score off him because they know how dangerous he is.

"Malinga is effective with both the old and the new ball it doesn't matter whether the wicket is flat, with bounce or is slow; he is equally threatening on all surfaces. When a player like that goes out it's a huge blow. We are looking forward to having him in the third Test. He's going to take this game off, get fit and get back into the fold."

Apart from Fernando, Sri Lanka have two other pace options in Dammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep who didn't feature in Galle. "Dilhara, Prasad and Pradeep have all been quality bowlers for us over the years," Sangakkara said. "Pradeep has just finished an A team tour of Australia where he's troubled all the Aussie batsmen who have grown up on quick bouncy tracks. He's got a lot of pace and he is averaging in the high 140s. Dilhara is in the mid 140s and Dammika is one of the quickest bowlers we have.

"These guys are around to do a job for us and whenever they are selected if they are mentally prepared to go and do the hard work in a Test match and bowl in the right areas, they are going to be effective as well. Let's see how they share the workload. The competition is pretty high for fast bowlers."

Sri Lanka have Mendis, Suraj Randiv and Rangana Herath, who also starred with the bat, to pick among the spinners, and Sangakkara said the final XI would comprise those who were best suited for the conditions on offer at the SSC. "These guys [the spinners] will have to share the wickets and make sure it's a partnership effort in bowling rather than depending on just Murali or Lasith. We'll look at all three spinners and pick the most effective ones. With a batting line up like India you need to pick wickets.

"Rangana bowled very steady with the ball and he was always there or thereabouts right throughout the game. He didn't do anything wrong but we just have to make sure we make the right decision for the conditions we have and the batsmen we face," Sangakkara said.

Mendis proved successful in the tour game, grabbing a six-for, and tormented India during their previous series in Sri Lanka, grabbing 26 wickets. However, since then, he has been handled relatively easily by the Indian batsmen. "Unfortunately for him he took about 26 wickets in his first Test series and in his first big final he took 6-13 so people have been expecting him to do the same over and over again. It doesn't work that way," Sangakkara said. "Also he's played a lot of cricket especially against India, the more you play the players get more used to you. He did very well for us in the warm-up game so taking the field tomorrow I am sure he is going to do a great job for us."

Despite the absence of key bowlers, Sangakkara admitted testing the Indian batsmen would be a challenge. "Test cricket is about being consistent - length and line and making sure you put a lot of pressure on the batsmen continuously not for just over one session but over four to five sessions. It's going to be a challenge but I am sure it is something which the boys are going to enjoy."

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Posted by mysay on (July 26, 2010, 5:52 GMT)

IND vs SL, IND v SL, SL v IND, IND v SL, just another SL v IND, who gives a damn. The ICC chieft is an Indian right? Get him to have IND & SL play again in another 15 years, or more would be even better. Tell NZ to avoid touring SL by fear of trampling bottle lids...and either get SL to Aussie / England / SA or either get them down. I'm on the verge of throwing a chair to the TV when I see Dhoni & Saggakkara on the same field.

Posted by Mark00 on (July 26, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

They did well to resist the temptation to bring Nuwan Pradeep into the side for the match at the SSC stadium.

If India's explosive batsmen get on top of him on this run-friendly pitch, he might lose confidence and never recover.

He should be introduced in favorable conditions (even a place like NZ or England might be good) against less aggressive batsmen. Once he has a few test wickets, he'll have the confidence to overcome the occasional mauling which all bowlers periodically suffer.

Posted by caromball on (July 26, 2010, 1:24 GMT)

I think SL should go to the 2nd test withfast bowler Nuwan Pradeep who is hiting the 150 km/h mark.really he is that fast.In Dilhara,Mathews,Mendis and Herath SL has some quality in their bowling.As Dammika Prasad not at his best form currently, it will be nicer to see new comer Nuwan Pradeep gets his 1st national cap.I beleive with that pace he can trouble the Indians at any wicket as he did in Australia with SL A side recently. In Sri Lanka now we haveLasith Malinga,DilharaFernando,Dammika Prasad and Nuwan Pradeep who can pass the 140 mark.It will be good to have some rotation system among these 4 in tests and one dayers to prevent injuries to them by over working.

Posted by SnowSnake on (July 26, 2010, 1:12 GMT)

I don't know why people underestimate India's fast bowling. All fast bowlers (including Pak. & Australia) playing test cricket today average less than 140kmph. There are no fast bowlers left in test cricket.

Posted by harikeshan on (July 25, 2010, 22:38 GMT)

@sanjeevmukherjee2006, winning in Aus, SA and India has infact been a challenge for SL. Then again how many series have SL played with these teams thanks to the Cricket boards, where India Vs. SL matches are now beginning to resemble backyard cricket. Then again India has not really performed well either against SA and Aus even when boasting of the probably the most experienced batting lineup with close to 50K runs amongst the top 6 or 7.

Posted by   on (July 25, 2010, 19:56 GMT)

how are india world no1 I find it very hard to believe after all they got a very incompetent bowling line up. they got no serious pace and just have 1 good spinner call harbajan singh. the others spinners, even i can milk them around. The batting line up is vey good however i agree with 1 of u saying they are vulnerable againts short fast pitched bowling. just flat track bullies these batsmen are in my opinion.

Posted by sanjeevmukherjee2006 on (July 25, 2010, 19:45 GMT)

@mayan.. fast mens..first of all ur wrong in ur assumption that india is poor against fast bowling because india have won series in england nz wi pakistan..india won at perth adelaide at johannesburg won odi series in england nz and in australia ur Sri lankan team by the way is the only test playing country (excluding zm and ban) to have not won a test match in INdia AUs and SA so even if SL wins test series still the record is dubious for your team

Posted by Hindu_Tiger on (July 25, 2010, 16:19 GMT)

Team India had their best chance in Galle as Lanka foolishly excluded their brightest star after Murali called Ajantha Mendis. Mendis is daddy of both Murali and Malinga so I won't be surprised if Team India suffers their 3rd successive Innings defeat at SSC, Colombo. Indian stars like Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Yuvraj etc. are clueless against Mendis. So, Murali's retirement will be a blessing in disguise for Lanka..........and a nightmare for Indian Batsmen for at least a decade.

Posted by duminda74 on (July 25, 2010, 13:23 GMT)

SL should play Nuwan Predeep...He will become a x factor for Indian Batting...

Posted by RaghuramanR on (July 25, 2010, 13:00 GMT)

I dont think Sri Lanka need to worry too much about absence of Malinga, forget Murali. India does not have a big bowling attack to worry, even if Zaheer Khan was present. Unless Dhoni conjures up some new tactics, this test is more likely to end in a tame draw, with either team, especially its batsmen, playing it safe. The onus of a result, rather a win, lies wholly and fully on Dhoni.

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