Sangakkara urges his batsmen to put up improved show against Aussies

Updated: 04 March 2011 19:13 IST

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara on Friday called on his batsmen to produce a better performance from their last game if they want to beat defending champions Australia in their high-profile World Cup match here on Saturday.

Colombo:

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara on Friday called on his batsmen to produce a better performance from their last game if they want to beat defending champions Australia in their high-profile World Cup match here on Saturday.

Sangakkara feels his side's bowling department can match that of Australia, but his batsmen will have to ensure that they do not repeat the mistakes they have committed against Pakistan.

"The real negative for us from the Pakistan game was that we lost a bunch of wickets in a very short space of time. We have to improve on that against Australia. We have to keep wickets and build partnerships and that will be important," Sangakkara told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

"It's a big game for us and hopefully we can keep improving, make sure everyone does well enough to beat Australia," he added.

Sangakkara backed his three spinners to top a three-prong Australian pace attack. The 1996 world champions and 2007 runners-up are considering the option of playing Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath to cast a spin web over Ricky Ponting's men on a slow Premadasa stadium pitch here.

"That's the possibility that we're exploring. I think that's the best way to play Australia. We've got three main spinners and part-time spinners, so we have to make a decision," he said.

Sangakkara expects his top bowlers, including lethal paceman Lasith Malinga, to deliver on Saturday.

"When you have guys like Malinga, (Angelo) Mathews and (Muttiah) Muralitharan you expect them to deliver. You look up to your star bowlers and then the responsibility falls onto the support bowlers to do their bit.

"We'll try and focus how we share that responsibility and give freedom to guys like Lasith to express themselves," said Sangakkara of the slinger who took a career-best 6-38, including a hat-trick, against Kenya on Tuesday.

Sangakkara said Australia are still a formidable team with fast bowlers Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson in good nick but drew inspiration from his side's recent ODI series win.

"The real strength of Australia is their pace attack. They've got four quality pace bowlers. They'll come at us very hard, right from ball one," he said.

"The bottom line is that they have been a very good side. But when we went to Australia on the last tour, the key change we made was in our attitude," said Sangakkara of Sri Lanka's 2-1 win in the one-day series in November.

"The way we looked at beating the Aussies, we are enjoying the challenges and making sure that every member of the squad was up to those challenges," said Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka have beaten Australia only once in seven World Cup matches - in the 1996 final in Lahore.

Topics : Nathan McCullum Kings XI Punjab Kumar Sangakkara Sri Lanka Cricket ICC World Cup, 2011
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