Sangakkara stresses the importance of preventing overkill

“Sri Lanka-India is a great hotbed for rivalries to be built and for the public and TV involved in Test cricket, which is the most important of all the formats,” the Sri Lankan captain said on Saturday.

“If this builds into a traditional top-notch cricketing rivalry, it would do Test cricket a lot of good. India is the number one Test side in the world, we go into this Test match knowing that. We are bascially trying to make sure that they try and earn that number one spot. “At the same time, there must be a context to this contest,” he added, referring to the fact that this is the third series between the teams in the last 24 months. “That’s something for the administrators to look at. As players, we are happy playing whatever matches we are asked to.”

Sangakkara admitted that the justified buzz around Muttiah Muralitharan’s retirement could eat into the team’s focus. “The danger is always that you get distracted,” the left-hander conceded. “The key is not to resist what’s happening around you, just to relax and enjoy it. You’ve got to understand it is for Murali and there is nothing that our team won’t do for Murali. He’s done so much for us, this is just a little thing we can do for him.”

The exciting Lastih Malinga is primed for a Test comeback after two and a half years away with a succession of injuries. “Everyone’s worked really hard to get him fit,” Sangakkara pointed out. “Malinga’s worked so hard to get where he is now. It’s a credit to him that he is out there fit and ready to play. It gives us a huge X factor. That’s really important going through into a Test match. He is a guy who can trouble any batsman in the world with his variation. We look forward to him to try and make an impact. If he doesn’t, just him being a part of our side gives a big boost.”

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