Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 15, 2012

Jayawardene blames top order for loss

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has blamed the failure of the top order for the defeat against Pakistan that has left them on the brink of elimination from the Asia Cup. He and Tillakaratne Dilshan had provided a fast start, but Jayawardene holed out in the sixth over attempting to clear extra cover. Dilshan's go-at-everything brand of batting led to the next wicket, as he top-edged a pull. Dinesh Chandimal fell to a wonderful slip catch by Younis Khan and Lahiru Thirimanne was dismissed chasing a wide one. On a good pitch, and after winning the toss, Sri Lanka were stumbling at 65 for 4, and they eventually limped to an insufficient 188.

"I think it was quite obvious [where we failed]: with the bat," Jayawardene said. "When you win the toss and bat first, the challenge is to get a good score on the board that the bowlers can bowl at; a par score on this track would have been around 250. We didn't get anywhere near that. Our bowlers had to do something magical if we had to win from there. I thought they bowled really well, gave everything they had but it wasn't good enough."

Jayawardene also stood by his decision to bat first, a move that was questioned because the pitches in Mirpur have appeared to be better for batting in the evenings. Jayawardene, though, said the pitch actually gets slower and that with the extra bowler - Lasith Malinga had replaced Chamara Kapugedara in the XI - Sri Lanka felt they could defend a decent total.

"By playing the extra bowler, we could have defended a competitive total. But the wicket gets slower and slower as the day progresses, and we thought that if we scored 250-plus, it would have been hard for them to chase with six batsmen."

Kumar Sangakkara and Upul Tharanga, now a regular at No 6, added 96 valuable runs to rebuild the innings after the top-order troubles, but Sri Lanka lost their way again when Tharanga was dismissed off the first ball of the batting Powerplay.

"Kumar [Sangakkara] and Upul [Tharanga] were batting well. But the sort of ball that Upul got, it wasn't possible to take full toll of the Powerplay," Jayawardene said. He also refused to use tiredness as a reason for Sri Lanka's two losses in the Asia Cup - they had played five games in 10 days in Australia before coming to Bangladesh.

If India beat Bangladesh on Friday, Sri Lanka's last game against the hosts will become academic.

Edited by Dustin Silgardo

Comments