Sanga gutted with MCG performance


Rex Clementine
reporting from Melbourne

The lead up to the Boxing Day Test match was huge. Sri Lanka had not played at the MCG on Boxing Day for 17 years and when 67,000 ardent fans turned up to witness the opening day’s play, the tourists’ performance was abysmal.

Over the next two days, the spectator turnout was 33,000 and 35,000, but Sri Lanka were terrible throughout the game as the Test match ended well inside three days, with Australia securing an innings and 201 run win, their second biggest win since the 1950s.

Sangakkara completed the milestone of 10,000 runs to the applause of over 65,000 people on the first day of the Test match before lunch, but the game was a bitter one for him as he ran out of partners in the first innings, where he made a half-century. An injury to wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene forced him to keep wickets and it wasn’t a tidy performance from the star performer, who was keeping wickets in a Test match for the first time in four years.

"It was a huge occasion and we are all disappointed as a team that we couldn’t put on a display that we desperately wanted. We are a much capable side than what that display shows. But we weren’t good enough with the bat to be anywhere near competitive," Sangakkara told ‘The Island’ after being discharged from hospital, having undergone surgery on his left index finger.

"We have got to take responsibility for that and understand that we were in no way good enough in the two and half days to compete in that Test match. That happens at times in cricket," Sangakkara added.

Sangakkara has been ruled out of the entire tour with injury and he backed his team-mates to put up a good show in Sydney where the third and final Test match will be played. "We have nothing to lose in the third Test. We need to try and win. Everyone must be thinking that we have no chance, but cricket is a funny game. Attitude wise and mentally if we free ourselves a bit more and if we manage to get a big total in the first innings, you never know. We have to move on. When your pride is hurt and when you know that you haven’t been good enough, you turn up and come up with great performances. It’s good to remember the Boxing Day Test because I think looking back on it, it can drive us to do better. Sometimes you need to remember the bad performances that you have put in."

While batting in the second innings, Sangakkara was hit on the hand by Mitchell Johnson. He was taken to hospital and scans revealed that he had fractured the joint below in his left index finger and required surgery.

"The surgery went really well. It was a pretty bad fracture. The doctor is very optimistic that I will be able to play in six weeks again. But I am very very sad that I can’t be part of rest of the tour. It’s a very challenging tour and Australia is a great place to play cricket, especially if you are a batsman. To me to miss a Test match in Sydney is a huge blow. But sometimes we have to shelve the disappointments in the back of your and get on with it. It will be great to see guys like Dinesh Chandimal going out to play. We will watch him with anticipation excitement when he goes out to the middle in Sydney."


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