Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews pays tribute to retiring Kumar Sangakkara, calling him the most consistent batsman he's ever seen
Galle: In a fitting tribute to Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews yesterday spoke of Don Bradman and the retiring great in the same breath, calling him the most "consistent batsman he has ever seen".
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews interacts with the media in Galle yesterday
"We are very thankful for Sanga the way he has performed over the last 15 years and he is easily the most consistent batsman I have seen. I haven't seen the great Donald Bradman but Sanga is easily the most consistent batsman I've ever seen. W
e learnt a lot from him up to now and he is ready to teach us and pass on his experience. We have benefited a lot from him," Mathews said about the retiring legend ahead of the first Test against India starting today.
Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara bats in the nets at Galle yesterday
The Lankan Test captain is confident that they can make Sangakkara's farewell memorable by winning the series. "We are all geared up and we want to give him (Sangakkara) a good farewell. He's been a great servant for Sri Lankan cricket and for the team and we are very thankful to him for what we are today.
"Our team is in a better position because of contributions from players like Sanga, Mahela (Jayawardena), Thilan (Samaraweera) and Tillakaratne Dilshan. So now it's up to the younger generation to take responsibility and show what we are capable of," said Mathews.
Onlookers watch posters of Kumar Sangakkara placed outside the Galle International Stadium yesterday. Pics/Solaris Images
When asked if there is a chance Sangakkara could play the third Test if the series is tied 1-1 going into the SSC match, Mathews replied, "I wished so but unfortunately he's calling it a day and we all have to respect that decision. Good things have to come to an end and Sanga has decided it's time up for him.
"It's quite easy to captain with players like Sanga and Mahela in the side. They had enough experience and now it's going to be a fairly tough job in this transition period with new faces. We have got to be patient as the younger guys are very skillful.
It's just that they need exposure in the international arena and have yet to learn, to learn you have to play and be patient with them and hopefully they can take the team where it wants to be."