Lankans keen to settle old scores against India

Published: Monday, January 29, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The disastrous tour of India in 2005 is still fresh in Mahela Jayawardane's mind and the Sri Lanka skipper says the upcoming four-match ODI series against Rahul Dravid's men will give his side the opportunity to avenge the past humiliation.

Though Sri Lanka will approach next month's series as a preparation for the big event, the focus will also be on improving the record against the hosts, who thrashed them 0-2 in Tests and 1-6 in ODIs in the 2005 tour, said Jayawardene, speaking to a sport's website.

''The focus might be on the World Cup but what we are trying to refocus is that India is a place that we haven't performed well recently. We want to rectify that and put it right, saying this is the place we are going to be competitive and perform well. If we do that it will be good for us confidence wise, going into the World Cup,'' Jayawardene said.

Jayawardane said the thrashing was a turning point for his side, which improved leaps and bounds after that and felt the latest tour would give them an opportunity to test their level of imrpovement.

''India actually started our revival. When we lost badly those six matches we had a chat and asked ourselves where we wanted to be in one year's time. Today we are in a different situation, consistently performing. We have grown up as a team and we have put a lot of results together.

Going back to India again is doing the whole recycle. It's another way of saying let's compare where we were in India one year ago and now,'' he said.

''We are competing much better overseas,'' he added.

Jayawardane said the most visible improvement in his side has been the bowling, which is stronger and much more attacking.

''We are stronger in bowling than when I first came into the team in 1997. The improvement has been in the pace department. Now we have a bowling attack which would suit any wicket anywhere in the world. We are in a better situation because our pace has improved.

We got three guys who bowl more than 140 kph, some are going at 150 kph which is something new.

''We've got a world class left-armer (Chaminda Vaas) to open the bowling who hits the right areas more often than anybody. You back that up with Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) and we have a lot of attacking options. It has actually improved our game a lot overall,'' he said.


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