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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Pitches suiting Sri Lanka: Sangakkara

March 07, 2003 12:03 IST

Pitches prepared for the current World Cup in South Africa are starting to suit 1996 champions Sri Lanka, according to wicketkeeper Kumar Sanagakkara.

Sri Lanka have toured South Africa twice in the past five years with little success, their batsmen often undone by the country's traditionally fast, bouncy pitches.

However, Sangakkara says the pitches prepared for the World Cup are offering less lateral movement to the fast bowlers while at the same time giving the spinners considerable encouragement. Sri Lanka play Australia in their first Super Six match on Friday at Centurion, a venue which usually serves up a hard and fast surface.

"The two previous tours helped us a lot but the tracks have changed quite a bit since the last time we were here," Sangakkara told Reuters on Thursday. "The ball was doing a bit more off the wicket but the wickets have got flatter and surprisingly they're also taking a bit of spin.

"So it's starting to suit our style of cricket a bit more over here.

"The whole thing of adjusting to extra bounce and movement is a mental thing and our batsmen have the technical capability to do that."

CONFIDENCE

Sangakkara said the Sri Lankans had drawn great encouragement from the way thay had bounced back from their shock defeat to Kenya in Nairobi during the pool stages.

"It's done a lot for our confidence. After Kenya all the guys were pretty down but we came back and won a very close one against the West Indies. To go on and have Marvan (Atapattu) and Aravinda (de Silva) do brilliantly and post 268 against South Africa was also good.

"Personally I would have preferred it to have gone all the way rather than be a rain-interpreted tie, but everyone was confident in the dressing room that we were going to do well in that game, and we did."

Sangakkara confirmed captain Sanath Jayasuriya was aware South Africa required 230 and not 229 to win Monday's crunch match in Durban as rain brought an early end to the match. The tie put Sri Lanka top of Pool B and South Africa out of the tournament.

"Sanath had the Duckworth-Lewis sheet in his pocket. We knew that 229 was a tie and 230 was a victory (for South Africa). When we were walking off the field we were pretty confident that the game was tied."

Looking ahead to the Australians, Sangakkara singled out Sri Lanka's performance in the field as crucial to their chances of upsetting the reigning world champions.

"Our fielding is going to be very important. The extra run stopped and the half chance taken will make a huge difference.

"When you've got people like (Herschelle) Gibbs and (Jonty) Rhodes in your side who stop those 10 or 20 run and get the target down from 270 to 250 it makes a huge difference and gives you the confidence to go out there and get the runs.

"But when you play Australia you can't concentrate on one part of the game, you have to do all three departments very, very well to win," Sangakkara said.

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