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

Jayawardene unperturbed ahead of crunch game

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Sri Lanka's previous engagement before landing in Dhaka was the Commonwealth Bank tri-series, the longest ODI tournament outside the World Cup and the Champions Trophy. With eight matches per team in the league phase, Sri Lanka had to wait almost a month to find out if they would make the final. In the Asia Cup, they could be eliminated three days after their first game - a loss to Pakistan tomorrow, and an India victory on Friday would end both Bangladesh's and Sri Lanka's chances.

Mahela Jayawardene wasn't perturbed that Sri Lanka will most likely have to win tomorrow against Pakistan. "It is (a do-or-die match), but we are used to that. In Australia we had quite a few of those. It's still in our control so we don't have to depend on anybody else," he said. "I quite like that situation. We know how important the match is going to be tomorrow, so looking forward to that."

Pakistan took on Sri Lanka last November and comfortably won the one-day series, as the spin of Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal proved too good. "Ajmal has improved tremendously in the last year and it shows in his record. In Dubai when we played against him, we had good and bad times," Jayawardene said. "Hopefully we'll have to handle him better tomorrow because it's a one-off game for us. Umar Gul is also one of the top fast bowlers and Afridi can be a handful."

Sri Lanka's own bowling would get a lot more teeth if their pace spearhead is deemed fit enough to play tomorrow. Lasith Malinga was rested from the first game as he was recovering from an injury which he carried in the finals of the CB series. He didn't seem to be in too much discomfort as he bowled and batted during Sri Lanka's practice session in the afternoon, and they will be tempted to pick him, considering their final league match is against relative lightweights Bangladesh.

One of Malinga's biggest weapons is reverse swing, which he uses devastatingly to slow down teams at the death. Brett Lee has complained about how the use of two new balls was reducing the amount of reverse swing available, and as a result reducing the effectiveness of fast bowlers.

Jayawardene, though, said that was not the case in the subcontinent. "Probably in conditions in Australia and England to a certain extent, but even yesterday we saw after about 30 overs, our guys managed to start getting reverse back," he said. "Surfaces are much more dry here and the balls do get older. You still can reverse the ball. I thought that [Suranga] Lakmal, Kula [Nuwan Kulasekara] and even [Farveez] Maharoof, to a certain extent, did reverse the ball.

"In other countries like England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, you don't need reverse swing. With the two new balls and the wicket helping you (fast bowlers), it's quite a handful (for the batsmen)."

Edited by Abhishek Purohit

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on March 15, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    This SL side is just like a movie,they have two BATSMEN( MAHELA n SANGA) n rest of them r for supporting roles and just one bowler, this team is not competent in subcontinent itself (except BAN) forget about outside ASIA (except ZIM).

  • Inaz on March 15, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    @lankanforever I am not surprised if Bhanuka Rajapakse is selected for the test series against England because our selectors love to give an opportunity for a player when he is not in form rather than when that player is in form. Seems like Srilanka will lose this match but still too early to make a call. If that happens I want the Pakistan brothers to win this asia cup.

  • miles100 on March 15, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    Joby_George, Of course India is not a good side. Talented SLs are not cunning as the Indians, Paks and the Aussies. If Sri Lankans can learn to think more cunning like the Indians, Paks and the Aussies do yes Sri Lanka is the worlds No 1 Team.

  • Joby_George on March 15, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    Obviously paksitan is far batter than srilanka. Srilanka depends much on MJ and KS. Another thing i noticed is that when Srilankan looses a game, especially against india, they will never say that India played well..but they say, we played some bad shots, we did not field well. A team can win only when they have gud shot selection and good fielding. Anyway paksitan will eliminate lanka out of asia cup today.

  • Vijay51982 on March 15, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    As far as now, my message is almost 100% perfect. Mahela did the mistake again and he is the sole responsible if they lose the match with Pakistan

  • maddy20 on March 15, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    So Malinga is in for today's game, just as I suspected. Wondered what scared the Lankans so much that they did not pick him for the first game against India. Me thinks it was the New kid on his first tour of Aus who thrashed the living daylights out of his bowling!

  • dummy4fb on March 15, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    MIDDLE ORDER OF PAKISTAN HAVE TO BE IN GOOD SHAPE IF THEY WANT TO WIN NO QUESTIONS ON BOWLING. THEY CAN EVEN DEFEND 200,210 WITH THIS BOWLING.

  • Haleos on March 15, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Malinga was rested? Seriously? nothing to do with the drubbing he got from Kohli then.

  • miles100 on March 15, 2012, 7:11 GMT

    Why don't the SL middle order batsmen don't like to finish the game during the chase or even when batting first. Look at Tharanga, he built the innings and threw his wicket in 3 matches when we are few inches away from winning. Look at Sanga, scores about 60/70 runs and gives away his wicket. Mahela is the same.Dilshan never finishes a game with a win. he loves throwing his wicket all the time. Thirimanne is the same.Never finished a match. He has Talent but throw his wicket before winning the match. These guys are putting a lot of pressure on Mathews,Chandimal and the tale. Come-on SL batsmen, you cannot expect one player to finish matches like this. Or Marvan should point this out and take actions in practice or match simulations. This weakness is called "getting carried away"(PSYCHOLOGICAL WEAKNESS OF OUR BATSMEN). This is why the middle order is sometimes weak. Come fellas on lets fix this.

  • Lankanforever on March 15, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    I will give you some info on a batsmen who batted no 5 for the first 3 years of his career. Innings - 76 Avg - 26.16 SR - 69.92 100's - 0 50's - 9 HS - 85. you would say drop him coz here are the stats of Kapu who played at 7 most of his knocks innings - 74 Avg - 21.64 SR - 72.6 100's - 0 50's - 7 HS - 95

    Now if that first guy was dropped and forgoten bcos of his first 74 innings these are his career stats now. Innings - 304 Avg - 38.21 SR - 75.77 100's - 13 50's - 70 HS - 138* WE would have lost Kumar Sangakkara. He deserved to be dropped. but selectors had faith on him look what he has turned out to be?

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