World Cup 2015: Sanga-Mahela hope to cross the line this timeNew Delhi: A missing link is what Sri Lankan veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will look to find when they join hands to plot Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign. This would be their last
New Delhi: A missing link is what Sri Lankan veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will look to find when they join hands to plot Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign. This would be their last inning together.
The one thing these two 37-year-old batsmen miss to this date is the absence of a World Cup triumph despite coming so near.
Sri Lanka reached final of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean under the leadership of Jayawardene but lost to Australia.
Four years later in India, Sangakkara was at the helm in the title clash but Mahendra Singh Dhoni's home team inflicted a six-wicket defeat despite a magnificent 103 off 88 balls by Jayawardene.
The two veterans, who go into the World Cup as the leading run-getters in one-day cricket among those still playing, took the setbacks in their stride and looked positively ahead at the future.
“We may not have won those two tournaments, but reaching two successive finals showed we played consistently well,” said Jayawardene. “Hopefully we can cross the line this time.“
Jayawardene and Sangakkar will retire from ODI after world cup. Jayawardene already retired from Test and Twenty20 cricket last year to concentrate on his fifth appearance in the showpiece event though Sangakkara remains undecided about prolonging his Test career.
The World Cup gives both a last chance to bow out in a blaze of glory and the signs are already encouraging that this could be Sri Lanka's year in Australia and New Zealand.
In Sangakkara and Jayawardene's final T20 appearance last April, Sri Lanka won the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh to end a drought of major titles since they took the World Cup in 1996.
Angelo Mathews' men won more one-dayers (20 out of 32) than any other team in 2014, including the Asia Cup title that also featured defending World Cup champions India and Pakistan.
Sri Lankans dominate the run-getters' list for the year gone by with left-handed Sangakkara leading the pack with 1,256 runs, followed by Mathews in second place with 1,244 and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan in fourth with 990.
Unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis topped the bowling charts with 38 wickets, but still failed to make the World Cup squad as the selectors went with left-armer Rangana Herath and off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake instead.
Sri Lanka will sweat over the fitness of pace spearhead Lasith Malinga, who was picked for the World Cup in a gamble by the selectors despite being sidelined following an ankle surgery in September.
The devastating sling-armer, 31, who is the only bowler in history to claim three hat-tricks in one-day internationals, is expected to be fit by the tournament opener against New Zealand on February 14, but is not guaranteed a place in the side yet.