India favourites, but we are not underdogs: Sanga
"They (India) are a very good side and they have always been the favourites to win this tournament. They`ve got to the finals and everyone will be looking for them to keep going," he told a media conference here on the eve of the match.
"We are very confident of the fact that we have been one of the best sides in the tournament. At the same time India are playing great cricket. As I said before, they have always been favourites. They have the best batting side in the world and everyone in the world expects them to turn up tomorrow and win the game.
"I don`t think we are underdogs as such. We are a pretty good unit. We have to understand the fact that India for the last two years have been the favourites to win the World Cup.
I am sure they will be looking at themselves as favourites too. We have just come here to play as well as we can tomorrow," said Sangakkara.
Admitting his team is battling injuries to key players — Muttiah Muralitharan and Angelo Mathews — Sangakkara, without mentioning their names, said a final decision on their availability for the winners-take-all clash would be taken tonight.
"We have got few injury worries. We have flown in people for those who are injured as cover. We will make assessments as the day goes along and then make a final decision this evening as to who is fit enough to play and what`s our combination is going to be," he said.
The visitors have added Chaminda Vaas and Suraj Randiv as cover for the two injured players.
Murali, for whom the game is his Swan Song in international cricket, is struggling with a knee injury while Mathews has a quadriceps injury.
Sangakkara was happy with the track prepared for the match by curator Sudhir Naik.
"The wicket looks fantastic. It looks a great wicket.
Conditions here are lot more different to conditions at home.
Sri Lankan wickets are a bit tougher. Here the wickets are even throughout the game. We are going to try and adapt to the conditions. It looks a very decent wicket and it looks pretty flat and we need to adapt accordingly," he said.
Sangakkara hoped there would not be a repeat of the sort of assault that their bowling got from Australian swashbuckler Adam Gilchrist four years ago in the final at Bridgetown, Barbados.
"Well four years ago we were outdone by a fantastic innings by Adam Gilchrist. Hopefully we won`t allow a repeat of that. Even if that does happen we`ve got to have the mental attitude to adjust and get back into the game."
According to Sangakkara it was important to produce controlled aggression.
"The World Cup brings the best out of players and sometimes the worst. For us tomorrow is going to be about controlled aggression. Not to be too emotional about anything.
Being clinical and stay grounded. Take things as they come.
You can plan as much as possible, but things can change out there in the middle.
"Everyone`s excited. But it`s nice to see that it`s a controlled excitement. Everyone`s relaxed and having a laugh.
But also you can see that steely determination behind all that, knowing what a big job is at our hands tomorrow. World Cup finals are huge occasions, so it`s pretty tough," he said.
The skipper said not playing at home had both advantage and disadvantage.
"It cuts both ways, I think. Playing in front of your home crowd adds to the excitement and passion and the pride that you feel. But it also adds to the weight of expectations when you feel that the entire crowd is looking at you to do everything right. That`s also tough.
"We would have loved to play at home. But that`s not the way it is. We have accepted that and we will take whatever the conditions are there for us and I am sure the Indian crowd is always appreciative of a good game of cricket," he remarked.
Sangakkara said winning the World Cup was a huge thing for his nation in the background of the lengthy internal conflict that has ended recently.
"It means everything for us. We have come through a very tough period. A lot of people have laid down their lives for our country. In this new future, hopefully we can take the World Cup home and it will be another occasion for celebrations," he said.
On Sachin Tendulkar`s quest to reach the landmark of 100 international centuries, Sangakkara said his team`s job was to curtail the Indian score and prevent them from lifting the coveted Cup for the second time in the tournament`s history.
"I don`t think we are here to spoil anything. I guess everyone knows the importance of scoring runs in a final whether it`s Sachin or anyone else. He is going to be the first player to get there (100 international tons). It all adds to the expectations of a World Cup final. Our job is to ensure that the Indian team doesn`t score too many runs," he said.