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Lanka seniors paving way for youngsters

cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2011 00:43 IST
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Sri Lanka’s trio of senior players are paving the path for youngsters to follow at the World Cup, says skipper Kumar Sangakkara.

Sangakkara led by example in making a fine 111 off 128 balls and also shared a vital 145 runs with his deputy Mahela Jaywardene to pull the team out of early trouble in a Group A match against New Zealand on Friday.

Veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan then took 4-25 despite a nagging leg injury as the Black Caps were dismissed for 153 to lose by 112 runs. “That’s what our role is all about,” said Sangakkara. “We have to show our responsibility and do justice to the kind of seniority we have.”

The Sri Lankan skipper was all praise for Muralithran, who is set to retire from international cricket after the World Cup. “Murali is a legend to bowl virtually on one leg and still get wickets,” said Sangakkara, 33.

The skipper said he was confident that Muralitharan would be fit for their quarterfinal which Sri Lanka will hope to be in Colombo on March 26. “We have a few days and will have a few tricks up our sleeve. Hopefully he will get fully fit in that time period,” said the captain.

“We have fixed other guys up in that kind of time. Murali needs to play. This is his last World Cup and he wins a lot of matches for us. He needs to have the freedom to do as he pleases.”