Lankans play it cool.. -
10-26-2007, 07:42 AM
RICHARD EARLE, CRICKET WRITER
October 26, 2007 02:15am
Sri Lanka's sharpest tongue Kumar Sangakkara has a pointed but simple message for unruly Australian crowds: "We are not India".
Sangakkara, a lawyer, has called on Australian fans to differentiate between the threat posed by his Sri Lankan ensemble and the race hatred India fans served up to Australia's Andrew Symonds on the recent one-day tour of the sub-continent.
The tourists have already made a team pact to bypass verbal warfare with Australian spectators this summer.
"We are not India. That was a separate tour," said Sangakkara when asked of apprehensions about facing Aussie fans riled by Symonds' treatment in India and antagonistic towards magical off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
"We can't control how we are accepted and how we are looked at by crowds.
"As long as they enjoy the spectacle and appreciate the cricket out there, that is the way to go. Australian crowds have over the years got better and fairer when it comes to Sri Lanka and we expect more of the same.
"That India series when you look at it was tough; there was a lot of pressure on both sides and sometimes the tempers can spill over."
Veteran Test paceman Jason Gillespie has warned Muralitharan will have to "grin and bear" abuse during the two-Test tour.
Brilliant strokemaker Sangakkara just wants a fair fight Down Under for the little island nation that punches way above its weight on the international circuit.
"That's the only reason why we are here, to win a Test," said Sangakkara, renowned for a cutting wit to match the best Australian sledge.
"We have always had a good relationship with the Australian side and we are just looking to build on that and see what happens with the crowd.
"I don't think our guys go over the top and try to take away from the game."
Sangakkara, 29, said Sri Lanka would aim to settle its first Test XI following a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI clash starting tomorrow at Adelaide Oval and tour match from November 2 at Allan Border Field.
Sangakkara - not local crowds - was Murali's main danger yesterday at training. The off-spinner who needs nine scalps to take Shane Warne's record for most Test wickets (708) was nearly decapitated by a return hit from his vice-captain in the nets.
Sangakkara, No. 4 in the ICC's Test batting rankings behind Ricky Ponting, Mohammad Yousuf and Jacques Kallis, has handed the keeper's gloves to long-term understudy Prasanna Jayawardene.
Last edited by Pata; 10-26-2007 at 07:55 AM.