Sri Lanka was better side in Test series: Sangakkara

Colombo: They let India level the three-match series by not grabbing chances but Sri Lanka was a better side throughout, host skipper Kumar Sangakkara said during the post-match ceremony.

India today won the third Test by five wickets to deny Sri Lanka a series-win but Sangakkara drew satisfaction from their dominating performance.

“It is one all. It is neither here nor there. But I thought right through the Test series we took more wickets. We scored more runs and we definitely created a lot more opportunities.

“Of course we did not convert those opportunities in these two tests. It was the only window India had to come back to the series,” Sangakkara said.

The Lankan skipper said the third Test could have taken a different turn had they grabbed chances against Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina on the fifth day of the match.

“I think we had a couple of chances this morning with Sachin and then with Raina. I think that would have made it lot more interesting. But the way they batted was excellent. They batted very positively, they kept scoring runs. And apart from Suraj Randiv and Malinga we could not exert pressure from the other end either to take wickets or to cut down runs.”

Sangakkara said a score of near-300 would have made the contest more tight.

“I think we would have liked to have close to 300 runs but the situation that we had 250 to defend was a great effort from Mendis and Thilan Samaraweera. Few chances here and there and all of them have proved crucial in the final analysis,” he said.

Sangakkara also praised the preparation of the wicket, which had something to offer to all the players.

“Usually it helps the fast bowlers a bit more than that, but the statistics show that the team batting last have won every test match here in the past two years.

“But probably the wicket was dry than it has been before. And probably it offered enough for every one in the first two days and more more to the spinners over the last three days. But over all a great wicket,” he said.

Talking about their fast rising spinner Suraj Randiv, who took five wickets in the second Indian innings in the third Test, Sangakkara the offie needs to improve to be more effective.

“I think his greatest asset is his confidence and his self belief. He is quite an attacking bowler. He has got great bounce. He will have to improve upon his control a bit more to make sure that he keeps building pressure with dot balls as well as more wicket-taking balls. Once he gets that balance right, I think he will be even better than what we see him now,” he said.

Laxman scored a composed century to play an important part in India’s win and Sangakkara said bowlers need to bowl accurate all the time to batsman like the wrist Hyderabadi.

“For a batsman like Laxman, again it is a matter of bowling good bowls all the time. Just make sure that he has got to play risky shots even if you are wristy change the pace up a bit so that you can mistime one or two but to any quality batsman the most important thing is line and length, accuracy and from there variation,” he said.