Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has explained the confusion over the toss in the 2011 World Cup final against India in Mumbai, saying it was MS Dhoni who suggested another toss of the coin.
The high-profile game at the Wankhede stadium saw two spin of the coins after confusion prevailed over the first one. Eventually, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first.
“It was a case of, I think it was the crowd. The crowd was huge, it never happens in Sri Lanka. It only happens in India to me, once at the Eden Gardens when I couldn’t hear myself talk to the first slip and then of course at the Wankhede," Sangakkara explained to R Ashwin in the latter’s instagram chat show Reminisce with Ash.
“I remember calling on the toss, and then Mahi (Dhoni) wasn’t sure what I had called. He said “did you call tail", I said “no, I called heads". The match referee actually said I won the toss, and Mahi said ‘no he didn’t’. So there was a little bit of confusion there and then Mahi said let’s have another toss of the coin.
“That’s when the second one went up and it came down heads again, so luckily… I’m not sure whether it was luckily that I won because probably if I had lost, it may have been that India might have batted."
Ashwin, who was a part of the Indian squad then, responded saying: “I think India might have chased, because of the dew maybe."
Sri Lanka posted 274 for 6, with Mahela Jayawardene scoring a century. India chased it down with six wickets in hand, Dhoni (91*) and Gautam Gambhir (97) starring for the hosts.
Sangakkara further said Sri Lanka were forced to change their strategy due to an injury to all-rounder Angelo Mathews before the final.
“Yes, maybe because of the dew. We had played New Zealand earlier at the Wankhede and our spinners really went through and we defended a total. So we weren’t really sure and then there was the spray that was sprayed on the ground," said Sangakkara.
“And because of Angelo’s injury, we played a 6-5 combination. All these factors were working in. But 100%, if Angelo had been fit, I know for sure that we would have chased. I’m not sure that the result would have changed. But that balance of Mathews at 7 is what really…if you take our entire campaign, Mathews’ overs and his ability to bat with the tail and read situations was an incredible bonus to us. He was a young chap who came into the side and from Day 1 could read situations. It’s just instinct. He would understand how to up the rate, how to control a bowler, when to take advantage and accelerate.
“In the World Cup final, that’s the biggest thing I look back and think… you can talk about dropped catches and all that happens, but I think the composition of the side and the fact that we were forced to make that change was to me the turning point in our strategy that we had to change quickly."