Sangakkara urges Sri Lankan bowlers to improve

Friday, 18 February 2011 00:38 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara urged his bowlers to stem the flow of runs in the first 15 overs despite comfortable wins for his team in both of their World Cup warm-up matches.

Sri Lanka produced another near-perfect show against the West Indies with a four-wicket win at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday, following their 156-run thrashing of the Netherlands.

“It’s good to have won both the warm-up matches,” said Sangakkara after the match.

“I think there is still a lot of work to be done, mainly the first 15 overs. They were a worry and they were not good enough for World Cup cricket.”

Chris Gayle (58) and Darren Bravo (54) helped propel the West Indies to 281 with a second-wicket partnership of 85, with Gayle hitting eight fours and a six during his quickfire 38-ball knock.

Bravo added 74 for the third wicket with Ramnaresh Sarwan (39) before paceman Lasith Malinga (3-33) and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (3-39) checked the West Indies’ progress.

Sangakkara (71), Tillakaratne Dilshan (62) and Thilan Samaraweera (55) made sure Sri Lanka go into their first World Cup match – against Canada on February 20 – full of confidence but the skipper eyed improvements.

“I think we should have chased it down with one or two wickets less than we did, but I think mentally we are slightly better chasing under lights now probably than a few years ago.” West Indian captain Darren Sammy felt his team should have scored more runs after Gayle gave them a good start.

“We should have scored more runs than we did, because we were well placed after 15 overs and then got some key wickets when they chased, but we didn’t finish it off, that’s what we should do when we play the main tournament,” he said.

The West Indies face a tough opening game in Group B, against South Africa in New Delhi on February 24, but Sammy believes his team is battle ready. “We know what we need to do and whether it’s the first match or the last in the group, we need to give it the best,” said Sammy.

The 14-team World Cup starts with a clash between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.