Sri Lanka in SA

Kumar hits back at SA critics

2011-12-11 19:47
Kumar Sangakkara (File)

Benoni - Experienced Sri Lanka wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara is bullish about his side's chances ahead of the first Test starting on Thursday, pointing to South Africa'a poor record in Sri Lanka as an indicator of the prospect of a tight contest.

"The South Africans haven't really even come close to beating us back home in recent times," said Sangakkara after the completion of the tourists' three day warmup match against a South African Invitation XI in Benoni on Sunday.

The 103-Test veteran also highlighted the large role spin would play on pitches traditionally suited to seam bowling.

"South Africa has always depended on pure pace as well as skill with the ball when it comes to fast bowling.

"They've got a good spinner in [Imran] Tahir so it will be interesting to see how they [spinners] stand up on wickets and whether the wickets will assist them enough to break games. But if you're a good spinner you should know and work on how to get wickets that don't help you," he said. "Spin has come to play a major part in all formats of the game. Even with two new balls in one day cricket, the spinners probably hold the key to turning games."

With any talk of spin bowling and Sri Lanka, the conversation quickly turned to Muttiah Muralitharan.

"You get one Murali and that's about it really," said Sangakkara.

"Again it's important for us to come to terms with that. We're not looking for the next Murali, we're looking for the next best spinner to come and win games for us. He might not take 800 wickets, but I think the guys we have on tour are good enough to do that job for us.

"Murali was probably one of the slowest bowlers to 200 Test wickets, they're not born overnight. It comes from years and years of hard work."

On the subject of Sri Lanka's dismal recent record, winning only one of their previous 18 Test matches, Sangakkara pointed to the changing squad dynamics.

"We are in a transition period where we are coming to terms with changes in the side and new players coming in, especially younger ones.

"We know where we are as a group and it's important for us to understand that and work with what we have, rather than paying too much attention to what happens around us."

Although Sri Lanka lost their opening bowler to a hamstring injury early in the match, the former Sri Lankan skipper was positive about what the team were able to achieve from the rain affected game in Benoni.

"It was not really great losing a bowler in the fourth over of the game, but I think the rest of the guys proceeded quite well," he said.

"The guys took on the responsibility of bowling the overs."

Sangakkara also played down any thought he would not be fit for the first Test, after splitting the webbing between his fingers on his right hand when fielding at backward point during the South African innings. Kaushal Silva wore the gloves during the warmup game.

"It just happened yesterday [Saturday], I've got three stitches in there and hopefully over the next three or four days it will settle. We can't really say for certain, but the physio will keep an eye on it and we'll see how it goes," he said.

Read more on:    sri lanka in sa  |  kumar sangakkara


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights

Saturday, 19 January 2019
South Africa v Pakistan, , Port Elizabeth 13:00
Tuesday, 22 January 2019
South Africa v Pakistan, Durban 13:00
Friday, 25 January 2019
South Africa v Pakistan, Centurion 13:00
Previous Results

Date Match Result

Which of SA's sporting codes is in the worst shape after recent scandals?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.