India v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 14, 2012

'Shouldn't have played the shot I played' - Jayawardene


Few things highlight the relentlessness of the current international schedule like Sri Lanka's itinerary over the past few months. A difficult and challenging tour of South Africa was almost immediately followed by a gruelling Commonwealth Bank series in Australia, five days after which they were playing their first match in the Asia Cup.

The short gap between tournaments and a massive political rally in Dhaka on Monday meant the first time the Sri Lankans came to the Shere Bangla stadium since they landed in Bangladesh was for their opening match against India. Even Virat Kohli, Man of the Match on Tuesday and a batsman in the form of his life, acknowledged the difficulties in adapting from the bouncier pitches in Australia to the ones in the subcontinent.

Mahela Jayawardene, though, didn't think a lack of training sessions in Mirpur or a chance to assess the conditions and tailor game-plans earlier than the day of the game affected his team. "No not really, I thought we needed a few days off," Jayawardene said. "We played five games in ten days in Australia, including travelling, and then had a 24-hour trip to Bangladesh, so we needed two days off, and because of the situation yesterday [Monday], we were forced to rest and I think the boys were quite happy with that. We had a good practice for about an hour and a half before the game, no complaints."

The manner in which Sri Lanka's top order set about dismantling India's bowling early in the chase didn't suggest any difficulty in having had to switch continents. Jayawardene's drives, cuts, dabs and pick-up shots towards deep-backward square leg in an hour of controlled aggression had India scrambling to limit the damage.

A combination of a pitch that was getting easier to bat on and a speedy outfield also helped Sri Lanka believe they weren't out of it, though India had put on a big score. "Three-hundred, I thought, was gettable on this wicket," Jayawardene said. "We batted really well but we made quite a few mistakes [too], and that has probably cost us the game."

One of the mistakes he was referring to was the shot that led to his downfall. Sri Lanka were flying at 124 for 1 in the 19th over when his attempt to run a wide ball very fine to the third-man boundary, ended up being too fine and a catch for MS Dhoni. The fielding, too, was a bit lax - a dropped catch, several close run-out chances missed and some fumbles. In the absence of the rested Lasith Malinga, they also had the problem most teams in world cricket seem to be currently facing: plugging the runs at the end of the innings. Dhoni and Suresh Raina plundered 95 in the final ten as Sri Lanka's bowlers sent down full toss after full toss, many of them heading for the pads.

"There are a lot of ifs and buts, I should not have played the shot I played, we were cruising at that time. As a team I think we gave away 15 runs on the field, we are a much better fielding side. Our last ten overs of the bowling wasn't disciplined enough, its crucial we don't make mistakes like this against a good opposition."

Despite those lapses, Sri Lanka were still in the game when the batting Powerplay was taken in the 36th over of the chase, with both Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne having settled in. R Ashwin sent both back in an over, as, sweeping, Sangakkara didn't connect well enough, and Thirimanne didn't connect at all. "I thought we were in control of the game for quite some time," Jayawardene said. "Except for my bad shot and two wickets in the first over of the Powerplay - that probably cost us the match."

What also scuttled Sri Lanka was the absence of their two allrounders, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera. Mathews has shown himself to be adept at closing out matches, while Perera's powerful strikes would have helped the chase. More importantly, Jayawardene would have had more bowling options - he had to resort to using Chamara Kapugedera at one point in the double-century stand between Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir.

"It is tough to get a combination going, both Thisara and Angelo are injured, we are trying to see what is the best combination we can come up with. Given the wicket, we thought we should play the extra batsman and chase."

Edited by Nikita Bastian

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 15, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    Atleast Mahela takes the blame for a poor shot selection.Kumar,Dilshan,Chandimal,Thirimanne,Kapugedera,Kulasekera all did the the same.What a fiasco it turned out to be.What is the secret of kapugedera's inclusion which has no justification at all for his continued failures everytime he has been given a chance . The selectors must be more transparent in their dealings.The composition of the team must be addressed before the next game against Pakistan.It is indeed a joke to play 7 batsman.If the first 5 cannot perform they should take the responsibility.On spinning bangladeshi pitches we are playing seamers.With so much of international cricket under their belt, why can't the team selection be done in a more justifiable manner.It is indeed a mystery and Sri lanka will continue to be bad finishers as seen in the World cup final and CB series final.

  • Sakthi on March 15, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    @ Suninder Sarao : Let me know what height did Aussie or SA reached, Nothing. They will be flatter by spin in sub continent, they dont have any Technic to play spin in sub continent India white washed aussie last test series played in India, Now tell me what they did.

  • kumar on March 15, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    What is the point in saying "shouldn't have played that shot" again and again? Everyone does one or the other mistake and gets out.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2012, 22:25 GMT

    I am an indian fan, and the funny part is sri lanka is such a good team, but somehow always chockes against india. I bet you they will have no problem beating pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2012, 21:21 GMT

    Why is it that batting powerplay means SL batting collapse?

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    What's the point saying you shouldn't have played that shot if you are going to play that again and again? It has been pointed out you have to be careful with that running it to third man and the late cut as it again and again ends an otherwise flawless innings. Also as in batting in captaincy too an excellent performance is capped with a careless action.

  • SANDEEP on March 14, 2012, 19:58 GMT

    I only see tendulkar playing shots like that all over the ground in grand fashion in early i n the inning and MAHELA JAYWARDHANE did it.awesome batting by him in first match vs india.woww.....

  • Dummy4 on March 14, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    @JustIPL, Of course, this is hype... he was the only centurion in Australia... Thats pure hype as well as its only hype, which made him to score 10 Centuries in ODI's... However, if this is hype, then I am happy to be a part of it!

  • Anjana on March 14, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    @srikrishsri: Please comment after getting your facts correct mate. Please read Anantha Narayanan's "it figures" latest column. I think he has answered some of the baseless questions about Mahela's performances against quality bowling attacks on difficult pitches!

  • Vivian on March 14, 2012, 13:53 GMT

    Mahela was awesome and although I'd like to consider myself an Indian fan, I couldn't help but watch in awe as he butchered the bowling with elegance and turned off the tv set after he got out. Haven't done that since Sachin got out in the Natwest finals.

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