Sri Lanka cricketers bank on ‘X factor’ to beat India

NEW DELHI, India, Feb 5, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka will rely on unpredictable fast bowler Lasith Malinga to rattle India in the one-day series starting this week, vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara said on Monday. The 23-year-old Malinga has claimed 71 wickets in 21 Tests and scalped 37 victims in 25 one-dayers with his unusual round-arm slinging action that batsmen find difficult to read.

Sangakkara said Malinga would be Sri Lanka’s main weapon in the four matches against India in the absence of stalwarts Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, who were rested ahead of the World Cup.

“Malinga has brought that X-factor into the side, that bit of unpredictability,” Sangakkara said ahead of the first match at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.

“He bowls at 150 kmph-plus (95 miles) regularly. He is very accurate and has got a very positive attitude.

“That rubs off on all the guys in the team and when we play with him we tend to be a bit more aggressive, a bit more positive, follow him along.

“We have got an all-round pace attack. We’ve got a good balance, got guys who bowl fast and guys who bowl line and length.”

The four-match series will be the last for the rivals before the Wor