Colombo:Breaking his silence on the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch fiasco, Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said the track did not look "normal" soon after the first five overs and was too dangerous to continue playing.
"Even after 6-10 overs, we could feel that the pitch was not normal. But the Match Referee (Alan Hurst) said 'I cannot do anything. It was a call for the on-field umpires to take'.
"We spoke to the fourth umpire as well. We cannot, from outside, make a request to the umpire. The two on-field batsmen had to make a request," Sangakkara said after his team returned from India losing both the Test and ODI series.
"The umpires were also waiting to see whether the pitch would improve. By the 23rd over, they knew that it did not even out. Then (Muthumudalige) Pushpakumara got hit and (Thilina) Kandamby nearly got hit," he told reporters here.
"Kandamby spoke to the umpire who said they were also waiting for the pitch to improve but that it had not. So, it was a dangerous batting pitch to play on," he added.
After 23-odd overs, the match was abandoned as odd balls reared up alarmingly.
As a fallout, Kotla now faces an international ban even though the Delhi and District Cricket Association officials alleged that the Lankans "chickened out" of the match fearing defeat.
Looking back at the disappointing tour, Sangakkara said among the few positives was the way some youngsters performed.
"We saw how the young players Suranga Lakmal, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Suraj Randiv performed. Young players are starting to realise it's anybody's game now and we are going to see them pushing everyone for places, not just for the World Cup but for other tours as well. It's a great step forward in Sri Lanka cricket," he said last evening.
Chairman of Sri Lankan selectors Ashantha de Mel also felt that despite the poor results, the performance of the team was not all that bad.
"I don't think our performance was that bad. We play quite a lot of cricket. The main thing we need to improve is bench strength for people who got injured. There were 10 people who got injured when we were in India. We had five debutants in the ODI series alone. Despite all that we showed lot of character," De Mel said.
Sangakkara said the fielding was one area where the Lankans need to improve.
"These days the matches are won or lost by two, three, four or five runs," he added.