|Player:||DPMD Jayawardene, M Muralitharan, WPUJC Vaas, UDU Chandana, HMCM Bandara|
|Event:||Sri Lanka in India 2006/07|
DateLine: 3rd February 2007
Sri Lanka hope to avenge an embarrassing thrashing by India 15 months ago when they play a four-match series from next week in the build-up to the World Cup.
When Sri Lanka played in India in November, 2005, they were routed 6-1 in the one-dayers and 2-0 in the three-Test series, an experience captain Mahela Jayawardene has not forgotten. As Sri Lanka left for India on Friday, Jayawardene said the team regarded the short tour as vital since recent performances on Indian soil had been not been very good. "We've got to beat India in India," Jayawardene told AFP. "It's been long overdue. Last time the end result was a big disappointment for all of us. But things have changed, personnel have changed, the way we play has changed too and the confidence is back. Despite all that India is still a tough place to go and play cricket in. Although we are not taking our full side, we believe this team can win matches for us. One area this team has done really well in the recent past is to compete well away from home. We did that in England and in New Zealand recently and this is a big series for us." Sri Lanka also failed to make the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in India last October despite being one of the favoured teams to win the 10-nation tournament. Sri Lanka have rested star bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan for their last series before the World Cup, which starts in the Caribbean on March 13. Both Sri Lanka and India will have the first two games in Kolkata on Feb 8 and Rajkot on Feb 11 to gauge current form before picking their squads by the Feb 13 deadline. "We have more or less finalised the squad. There are one or two places that we need to confirm," said Jayawardene. "I would say that we've got an idea of about 90 percent of people we want to take to the West Indies. We'll have to take into account things like form, experience, players who can handle pressure, players who can fit into the combinations that we want and who can contribute to the team," the 29-year-old said. Two leg-spinners, Upul Chandana and Malinga Bandara, will be looking to compete well in India since one of them could join Muralitharan for the World Cup campaign. Sri Lanka squad for India series: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Upul Chandana, Russel Arnold, Marvan Atapattu, Malinga Bandara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dilhara Fernando, Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Silva, Upul Tharanga and Nuwan Zoysa.