In­dia set for San­gakkara's farewell party

The Pak Banker - - INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS/SPORTS -

In­dia hope to end a 22-year wait for a Test se­ries win in Sri Lanka when the three-match rub­ber mark­ing Ku­mar San­gakkara's farewell opens in Galle on Wed­nes­day.

The Sri Lankan bat­ting great, whose 12,305 runs make him Test cricket´s lead­ing scorer among those still play­ing, is due to quit in­ter­na­tional cricket af­ter play­ing in the first two Tests.

In­dian cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli said his team plans to give 37-year-old San­gakkara a fond farewell -- but also make sure they do not al­low the pro­lific left-han­der to pile up big scores.

"Great man and a great crick­eter, he de­serves a very good farewell and we will pre­pare ac­cord­ingly," Kohli said of San­gakkara. "But hope­fully we will also get him out cheaply." The tourists will not be dis­tracted by the hype over San­gakkara´s farewell se­ries as they bid to end a bar­ren phase in Sri Lanka since the 1-0 vic­tory by Mo­ham­mad Azharud­din´s men in 1993.

In­dia have played four se­ries on the is­land since, los­ing in 2001 and 2008 while draw­ing in 1997 and 2010. The five-year gap since their last se­ries means that 11 of the 15 tourists, in­clud­ing skip­per Kohli, have not played a Test match on Sri Lankan soil be­fore.

Open­ing bats­man Mu­rali Vi­jay and bowlers, Harb­ha­jan Singh, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra, are the ex­cep­tions, although sev­eral oth­ers in the squad have played lim­ited-overs games in Sri Lanka.

Kohli, re­garded as one of the most ac­com­plished bats­men in the mod­ern game, is de­ter­mined to make a win­ning start in his first full se­ries as cap­tain af­ter tak­ing over from Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni in Aus­tralia last year.

In­dia will be re­lieved at play­ing Test cricket in fa­mil­iar sub-con­ti­nen­tal con­di­tions af­ter los­ing four se­ries in a row in South Africa, New Zealand, Eng­land and Aus­tralia. "We are here to play good cricket," Kohli said, down­play­ing In­dia´s poor over­seas record. "History and records are side­lined when the fo­cus is on play­ing good cricket.

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