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Sangakkara demands end to Sri Lanka stagefright

cricket Updated: Apr 03, 2011 11:55 IST
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Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has warned that his team need to overcome their showpiece stagefright if they are ever to win another World Cup after a third shattering loss in a major final.

Since capturing the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka have been runners-up in the 2007 and 2011 finals as well as the 2009 World Twenty20.

"We can be very proud of the way we played our cricket. Unfortunately, we couldn't convert," said Sangakkara after Saturday's six-wicket defeat to India.

"We've got to three finals, we've lost three finals. We need to lift ourselves a bit more, playing in finals is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we didn't grab that opportunity."

The Sri Lanka skipper said India's batting line-up was an "awesome" sight and that sides playing against them have to make more than 300 to stand any chance.

In Saturday's final, the islanders made 274 for six after winning the toss with Mahela Jayawardene top-scoring with a typically stylish 103 not out.

But it wasn't enough as India, despite the early loss of openers Virender Sehwag (0) and Sachin Tendulkar (18) triumphed.

They won with 10 balls to spare thanks mainly to Gautam Gambhir (97) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who crowned a man-of-the-match-winning unbeaten 91 with a six as his side finished on 277 for four.

"When you have such an awesome batting line up, even 300 is not enough," said Sangakkara who was also on the losing side against Australia in the 2007 final in Barbados.

"274 was great. In a final, runs on the board are very important. Then again, you also have to penetrate with your bowling attack.

"Lasith Malinga did a great job with the first two wickets but with that India batting line-up, you need to take at least three or four in the first 20 overs."

Sangakkara said India possessed "the best top seven in ODI cricket," adding: "Where we lost the game is how Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni batted. They were absolutely fantastic."

Sri Lanka were forced into a late change after all-rounder Angelo Mathews was ruled out on the eve of a match and Sangakkara said: "It was a huge setback, both for his batting and bowlinng, but that is the way it goes."

Reflecting on Jayawardene's hundred, Sangakkara said: "Mahela's was an exceptional century. He really showed us what he can do."

The match was also Trevor Bayliss's last as coach of Sri Lanka before the Australian returns home to take charge of state side New South Wales.

"Trevor prompted us very well, a man of few words but what he says counts. We won't have him any more but his heart is with us," said the captain.