Sri Lanka news September 3, 2012

'Sri Lankan pitches have changed' - Sangakkara

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kumar Sangakkara has said that Sri Lanka will be one of the favourites at the upcoming World Twenty20, despite Sri Lanka's pitches having become less spin-friendly. Pitches at Pallekele and Hambantota - stadiums built for last year's World Cup - have suited seam bowling, while the relaid square at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo has also seen bounce and carry in the last year. No team breached 200 in the Sri Lanka Premier League played in Colombo and Pallekele in August and four of the top five wicket takers in the tournament were seam bowlers. 

"Our sides have changed a little bit," Sangakkara said. "We don't depend on spin alone anymore or just one fast bowler in Chaminda Vaas. We have different sets of fast bowlers and different sets of spinners. With the change in conditions our sides have changed, but home advantage is not only about wickets. It's about playing in your country, playing in front of the people who cheer and love you."

Sangakkara said the Premadasa pitch changed after the ground was renovated, and that winning the toss held no obvious advantage as it had once done. Fifteen of the 27 matches in the World Twenty20 will be played at the Premadasa, including both semi finals and the final. 

"When the wickets were relaid, in the first few games there was a lot of turn and now they've settled down into beautiful wickets where batting first or second you have an equal chance of winning. Batting under lights has become so much easier that some sides now prefer to chase," he said. 

The wickets at Pallekele and Hambantota also offer challenges not traditionally associated with Sri Lankan venues, Sangakkara said.

"Pallekele seems to have a lot in it at night. It seams and swings around and that will be an interesting challenge for us being a Sri Lankan side playing in our conditions to encounter those conditions. Hambantota is completely different. There is quite a strong wind from one side and the pitch can be a bit up and down. The vicious turn that [Sri Lankan pitches] used to have is no more, so sides have to adjust accordingly."

Sangakkara said that in addition to a home crowd that will give Sri Lanka "a massive advantage", the team's recent history of good performances at ICC events would also be a source of confidence. Since 2007, Sri Lanka have been runners up in successive World Cups, and were finalists in the 2009 World Twenty20 and semi finalists in the 2010 tournament.

"Sri Lanka have always been favourites in my view in any tournament that we play because we've been able to rise to those big occasions really well as a unit and adjust accordingly. If you take our last 4-5 years, it's been an amazing run in big tournaments. We just need to believe in ourselves and believe in that fact and keep playing."

Sangakkara missed the SLPL due to a fractured finger, but is expected to be fit for the World Twenty20 which starts on September 18. Sri Lanka play Zimbabwe in Hambantota in the tournament opener. South Africa is the other team in their group.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • violet on September 6, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    @KEVINSL & chathuradil; Personally i like sanga so much..he is a gud cricketer i agree..better ask him to learn from Dhoni how to b cool b4 and during finals and semis..U r No.1 chokers..Yes v lost 8 in a row..never mind v wil bounce back...

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    WI and Ind wil b in final for sure...Eventually Ind wil win tis time..Gud luck to India..Not by d luck but by d place wer they r gng to play..recently they showed d world how capable they r on SL grounds..Can't wait for their action on and off field esp with YUVI in team..

  • shahzad on September 6, 2012, 17:49 GMT

    only pakistan cab win world cup

  • Mahidhar on September 6, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    "Srilanka are on of the Favorites" a very optimistic and strange hypothesis i must say, considering the spate of Srilanka in their recent outings

  • Niaz on September 6, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    everything is just worried about the weather and rain...:s

  • Marcian on September 6, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    I definitely think its good that pitches in SL have changed and offer more than a bit to the seamers; it bodes well when our boys tour England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Perhaps in the short-term our batsmen will take some time to adjust to the varying conditions at RPS, Pallekele and Hambantota but in the long-term will groom technically better all round batsmen to handle the moving ball in the air and off the deck: the batsmen have already shown signs of better technique in seaming conditions of late. Moreover, this will help our pace bowlers to improve their skills by leaps and bounds as well in the near future. All in all great move by SLC, however, whether it's a happy accident or deliberate is still unclear. Regarding T20 WC: Pakistan, West Indies, SA, India and SL are all favorites in my books but then New Zealand have the pacers and power hitters to surprise everyone and they always do well in ICC events. It's an open tournament with no clear runaway favorite.

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    @ Rash_inswinger, all the best tickets for T20 matches are sold out.even the final is already sold get the facts right before you comment (bark)...

  • syed rashid on September 5, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Here comes the unofficial WC T20 Mascot, Kumara! no matter how hard he tries to sell the shortest format in SL..the conditions are just not favorable for t20 unlike S.A or IND..majority of the SLPL matches were 1 sided (including the final) and before boasting of the "crowd support" please check ticket the sales for the past 1 year..the only time good crowd was witnessed in SL was when ENG played them in Mar-Apr 2012 (where the majority of the crowd consisted of English tourist)

  • mythily on September 5, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    When did your super power srilankan team won against pattinson,lee and broad? Please enlighten me.By luck ( in your logic) you reached CB series and still lost the finals.Even srilanka lost both odi and test series to Australia in srilanka, home condition.Please learn to play good in both flat and pace pitches.Mostly the srilankan pitches are flat and if you can't win matches there,then you are not going to win anywhere.And if you think ,srilanka can play in seaming wickets consistently,then I am hashim amla :)

  • mythily on September 5, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    @kevinSL, Hhahaha, A flawed theory for someone winning the trophy with talent?The finalist were Australia and India ,where srilanka got eliminated at the league phase.So if srilanka can't perform during the 2008 CB series,you can't say India won due to luck.Last match was a dead rubber and Australia took it easily and it was srilankas only chance to save their face before leaving empty handed ,so srilanka won.Everyone know how Australia performs in finals and India won fair and square against thetop Australian team at that time .India won more odi matches abroad than srilanka.Check the stats of Indian team,they played a very good test cricket against the top Australian team during the 2000-2008 time and won many test matches.Srilanka won only 1 odi series and no single test matches in Australia.If at all srilanka know how to play in pace friendly wickets ,they would have won some test matches by now.Finally IMO Pakistan and India play better in seaming wickets than srilanka.

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