Sangakkara asks seniors to step up


New Delhi: Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara has asked the senior players in the side to step up their performance for a face-saving win in the fifth and final one-day international against India at the Ferozeshah Kotla here Sunday.

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The Sri Lankan team has already lost the ODI series, but would hope to finish the two-month long tour on a winning note.

Sangakkara said there has not been much difference between the two sides, but they have failed to close the matches.

“Most of the matches were high scoring games. The batsmen have been dominant and bowling patchy. We have been ahead of India in most of the matches, but we have not been able to cross the line. We have given India a good competition but could not close out the matches.”

“I thought we should have won the first ODI at Rajkot. Those kind of crunch situations that we didn’t convert into wins has shown in the scoreline.”

Sangakkara said that their bowling attack was depleted with injuries to key players like Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando, but felt the youngsters stepped in nicely.

“We were not close to our full strength in the bowling department. But I am very impressed by the youngsters — the way they have stepped in. With so many injuries it hasn’t been happy or pleasant. The new bowlers lacked experience but haven’t been overawed by the crowd. It shows our bench strength is good.”

“Three of our best bowlers on the tour have been debutants. They showed enthusiasm and an indication for the experienced guys to be on their toes because there are others pushing for places. The senior players in the side can take lessons for them.”

“The top order has been doing well, but we would like the middle order to perform a little better. There are lot of things to work on but it happens sometimes.”

Asked about Tillakaratne Dilshan, who has been outstanding in the series, Sangakkara said: “He is in fantastic form and probably the best in the world this year. He does not play with any pressure on his mind.”

“It’s not that our middle order have failed to score in the series when Dilshan has not given us good starts. We got 315 in the last match where Dilshan was out early but yes they could have done better.”