Team looking up to Sanga to deliver – Herath


Rangana Herath celebrates with Kumar Sangakkara.

by Rex Clementine

While the onus is on left-arm spinner Rangana Herath to deliver in the bowling department, the national cricket team looks up to Kumar Sangakkara to shoulder the burden with the bat. The star player is world’s number two ranked batsman in Test cricket while in ODIs he is ranked fifth. A Test average of 58 and an ODI average of 40 means Sri Lanka’s number three has few peers in the world.

In a bid to get ready for the challenges in England, Sangakkara played two four day English County games for champions Durham. Herath who will leave for England this week to prepare for the Test series, feels a well prepared Sangakkara means good news for the Sri Lankans.

"Sanga has a big appetite to win. Not just in England, but whatever the cricket contest he is involved in he wants one thing and that’s to win. We last played in England in 2011 and the fact that he hasn’t had much exposure in England might have prompted him to play those county games. But it doesn’t matter where the series is played and he always gives 100 percent," Herath told The Island yesterday.

Sangakkara joined the national team last week after ending his brief county stint in style making 159 runs against Sussex on his final day with Durham.

"His form will be a big advantage for the team. Not many players get that kind of opportunities and if he scores big that will be a huge bonus for the side," Herath added.

While Sangakkara has a fine Test record, the numbers are below average in England. He averages only 30 in England whereas his career average is almost double (58).

"Sanga can make a century anywhere in the world and I hope that he compensates this time. I have lot of faith that he will come good."

Herath has lot of experience in England having been the Overseas Player of two counties – Hampshire and Surrey. He also has played league cricket

"We are really keen to win a Test Match this time around in England. There’s lot of momentum behind us after the World T-20 triumph."

The role of a spinner is undermined in English conditions, but Herath felt the spinners have a role in England. "The first three days you don’t get much support, but by the fourth and final day there is some assistance. If there is any sun shine that will be great for the spinners and that’s when the spin bowlers can make an impact," he added.

Unlike on previous tours, the Sri Lankans would have spent more than a month by the time the first Test gets underway at Lord’s on the 12th June and Herath feels that will be an advantage.

"That will be a big bonus for us. If you take the World T-20 triumph we were in Bangladesh for more than two months and we are facing a similar situation here and that’s great," he said.

Herath also felt Sri Lanka’s improved seam attack comprising Suranga Lakmal and Shaminda Eranga would play a big role. "There is a big difference in our seam bowlers these days. If they can get us early breakthroughs that’s great for us. There’s a big improvement in all three of them in the last couple of tours. That for me and the team is a big thing and something to be happy," he said.

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