SL look to break India jinx

SL look to break India jinx

We are here to win, asserts skipper Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara“We have a much improved pace attack,” the Lankan skipper said on Sunday. “We have the balance in the team to play two or three specialist spinners and still have two fast bowlers playing. That’s probably the only difference between the side here now and sides that toured before. We have the opportunity and the ability to tackle any condition we face here. Other than that, it is really up to us.

“The guys are ready for the challenge. We know we have come here with the fact that we haven’t won a Test here. We are here to enjoy our cricket and try and win.”

Sangakkara admitted that he had a difficult choice to make as regards Muttiah Muralitharan’s spin partner. While Ajantha Mendis bamboozled India last year, he has since lost a lot of his efficacy. By contrast, Rangana Herath’s left-arm spin set up Test wins at home against Pakistan and New Zealand.

“It is an interesting choice,” said the left-hander. “We pick the best spinner for that particular game, for that particular opposition. We will try and go with that.
“If Rangana missed out and I were him, I would be very, very disappointed because he has out-bowled both Murali and Mendis in the last two series. We have to do a lot of thinking today, but he has a very good shot at playing.”

The Lankans have practiced a lot with the SG ball that they are unaccustomed to, but which will be used in this series. “We flew down about 180 SG balls to Sri Lanka and practised with them for about two months,” Sangakkara revealed. “Hopefully, that will give us an edge. The preparation is good, but we have to play even better and make sure we execute what we trained on the day of the match.”

Sri Lanka’s lone practice game, against a Board President’s XI in Mumbai, was a total wash-out. “It is a bit disappointing but not frustrating because we had some good practice in those three days. But we always prefer a good practice game to good practice when it comes to preparing for a very hard Test tour like India.”

Sri Lanka-India fact file

* First match at Chennai from Sep 17, 1982.  Match drawn. Last match at Colombo (PSS) on Aug 8, 2008. SL won by 8 wkts.

* Record: Played: 29; won by India: 11; won by SL: 5; drawn: 1. In India: Played: 14, won by India: 8; won by SL: 0; drawn: 6.

* Highest total: For India in India: 676-7 at Kanpur, Dec 17-21, 1986. In Lanka: 537/8 decl at Colombo (SSC), Aug 2-6, 1997. For Sri Lanka in India: 420 at Kanpur, Dec 1986. In Sri Lanka: 952/6 decl at Colombo (RPS), Aug 2-6, 1997.

* Lowest total: For India in India: 288 at Chandigarh, Nov 23-27, 1990. In Sri Lanka: 138 at Colombo (SSC), Jul 23-27, 2008. For Sri Lanka in India: 82 at Chandigarh, Nov 23-27, 1990. In Sri Lanka: 136 at Galle, Jul 31-4, 2008.

* Highest individual score: For India in India: 199 by Mohd Azharuddin at Kanpur, 1986-87. In Sri Lanka: 201 n.o. by Virender Sehwag at Galle, 2008. For Sri Lanka in India: 110 n.o. by Aravind de Silva at Mohali. In Sri Lanka: 340 by Sanath Jayasuriya at Colombo (RPS), 1997-98.

* Most runs in the series: For India: Sachin Tendulkar (1,408, 19 matches, Highest: 148, Avg: 56.32, 100s: 7). For Sri Lanka: Aravinda de Silva (1252, 19 mts, Highest: 148, Avg: 41.73, 100s: 5).

* Best bowling in a match: For India: 11/125 by Venkatapathy Raju at Ahmedabad, Feb 8-12, 1994. For Sri Lanka: 11/110 by Muralitharan at Colombo, July 23, 2008.

* Best bowling in an innings: For India: 7/51 by Maninder Singh at Nagpur, Dec 27-31, 1986. For Sri Lanka: 7/87 by M Muralitharan at Colombo (SSC), Aug 29-2, 2001.

K R Gururaja Rao


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