ODI series: Sangakkara calls for improved show from Sri Lanka

Hosts in a must-win situation after Ponting’s 90 takes Australia to a 2-0 lead.

Afp August 15, 2011


Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara urged teammates to lift their game ahead of a must-win match today in the one-day series against Australia.

After winning the Twenty20 series 2-0, the home side has been beaten in both One-Day Internationals (ODIs) played so far.

“Another batting failure and we are now left with lots to do to keep the series alive,” former captain Sangakkara wrote on his blog, after Australia pulled off an easy eight-wicket victory in the second ODI. “We need to somehow re-group.”

Sangakkara, who top-scored for Sri Lanka with a patient 52, added 63 for the fifth wicket with Angelo Mathews (35).

Ponting shines with the bat

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting cracked an impressive 90 not out while captain Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 58 as the visitors surpassed Sri Lanka’s total of 208 with more than 11 overs to spare for a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

“The Aussies have been able to apply sustained pressure on our batsmen and our inability to post competitive totals means that we have not been able to do the same to their batsmen,” added Sangakkara before saying that Ponting, Shane Watson and Clarke batted through both matches ‘without the pressure of a challenging required run-rate’.

‘I’ve been better after giving up captaincy’

Meanwhile, Ponting told reporters that his batting has improved after giving up the demanding captaincy role following Australia’s exit from the World Cup in April.

“It probably has, to tell the truth,” said the 36-year-old Ponting.

“The World Cup probably didn’t go to plan as I would have wanted. There’s no doubt for me to be able to turn up to training and focus on only my batting and my fielding has been nice.  I’ve been able to just be that little bit fresher I think and I’ve felt in control the two games I’ve played here so far. Hopefully that continues for the rest of the tour.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.