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We need to bat longer - Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara was critical of his side's batting effort, and called on the top-order to bat longer

India struck early and often as the Sri Lanka top-order failed to apply itself  •  Cameraworx/Live Images

India struck early and often as the Sri Lanka top-order failed to apply itself  •  Cameraworx/Live Images

Sri Lanka find themselves at the bottom of a tight table at the halfway stage of the tournament largely due to an insipid top-order batting performance against India. After winning the toss and choosing to bat, often a huge advantage in Dambulla, four of their top five made single digit scores to leave Sri Lanka floundering at 44 for 4. From then on, they rarely managed to loosen India's grip on the game.
Kumar Sangakkara was critical of the batting unit, calling the performance 'not professional' and urging his batsmen to bat longer. "I think none of us who got starts got on with it and we didn't spend enough time to assess the conditions," he said. "Unfortunately the way we batted was not at all professional and not up to standard at this level of cricket. We need to make sure we don't do that again."
Praveen Kumar, who started the match with a ripper of a delivery to get rid of Upul Tharanga, and Ashish Nehra got the new ball to seam about early, making it hard for the batsmen. "I think Praveen Kumar bowled very well, he managed to get movement off the track, unfortunately right throughout we couldn't really apply ourselves long enough to get over that, we had to get over 12-14 overs with wickets intact and that would have set us on our way."
There was a semblance of a recovery when an aggressive Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews added 38 for the fifth wicket. Dilshan, though, top-edged a slog-sweep to hole out just before a passing shower stopped play. "Just before the rain, we needed the partnership to continue, unfortunately there were a couple of soft dismissals. On a track like this you need to get 230-240 and you can defend that; we have seen it before."
After most of the specialist batsmen failed, Suraj Randiv and Nuwan Kulasekara helped haul Sri Lanka to 170. The bowlers then managed to reduce India to 32 for 3, though they couldn't build on those early breakthroughs. "I think we had a bit of a chance (after getting three wickets)," Sangakkara said. "Unfortunately we didn't put enough balls in the right place, but Dilhara Fernando and Angelo Mathews bowled exceptionally well."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo