Kumar Sangakkara is the No.1 one-day batsman at the moment: Muttiah Muralitharan
This World Cup in Antiphodes which is already getting famous for the number of records being broken and set, saw one more on Sunday; this time from the sizzling southpaw from Sri Lanka, Kumar Sangakkara. The left handed wicket-keeper batsman registered his name in the record books by scoring three consecutive hundreds in the World Cup. He became the first player to do so in the history of this coveted tournament.
Sangakkara’s 104 against Australia on Sunday, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, was his third in the tournament after having blasted a ton against Bangladesh and England earlier. Despite anchoring the mammoth chase of 377 really well, he couldn’t see his team win the match. However, the team could take a lot of positives out of the chase as the batsmen came close enough to snatch a difficult win.
Acknowledging this great effort from the Lankans against Australia, the legendary off-spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan commented, ”I am feeling very positive after Sri Lanka’s defeat against Australia. After conceding a mountain of runs, the batsmen once again showed their quality, and for 40 overs Angelo Mathews’ men really kept the opposition on their toes.”
Sangakkara is exceptional: Murali
In his column for the International Cricket Council’s website, the off-spin great was lavish in his praise for his former colleague Kumar Sangakkara. He wrote, “In Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka have the number one one-day batsman in the world at the moment, His feat of scoring three World Cup hundreds in a row is incredible and his ability to score at better than a run-a-ball without appearing to take risks is exceptional."
Murali feels Sangakkara is showing himself to be the complete player in every sense. “You can talk all you like about Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers or Glenn Maxwell – and all of them have played superbly in this tournament – but Sanga is the man all other sides will fear most of all.”, warns Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in ODIs.
"As this is his last World Cup he looks like a man on a mission," commented Muralitharan of the 37-year-old Sangakkara.
Dearth of quality bowling: Murali
The former Sri Lankan bowler, however, is worried about the lack of depth in the present Sri Lankan team’s bowling attack and also the injuries that plague the side. He quoted in his column saying, “The problem with the bowlers is simple: beyond Lasith Malinga, who is slowly but surely getting back to somewhere near his best, Sri Lanka does not have any high-quality operators.”
“After all, no matter how well the batsmen are playing, it is asking too much of them to need to score in excess of 300 every time in order to win or keep the side in the match.” concluded Muralitharan, who was part of the Lankan team that won the 1996 World Cup.
Sri Lanka, as the scenario has it, are likely to face South Africa in the quarter-finals. It would indeed be a tough draw as South Africa have already imposed two 400 plus totals in the tournament.