Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur March 20, 2012

'We have made many mistakes' - Jayawardene


Less than two weeks ago, when Mahela Jayawardene and the Sri Lankans landed in Dhaka after a spunky performance in the Commonwealth Bank series in Australia, he was asked what he had done to revitalise the side since taking the captaincy from Tillakaratne Dilshan. Jayawardene had played down the notion of a magic wand, pointing out some of the highs under Dilshan's leadership before bringing out the old cliche, "a captain is only as good as his team".

Today, after three defeats in the Asia Cup and little to be happy about besides the resolution of their pay problem, Jaywardene was asked by a journalist whether there was something wrong with his captaincy. He was initially nonplussed by the question, grinning disbelievingly at being asked that, before regaining his composure.

"Amazing isn't it, two weeks of cricket does that to you, eh?" he said. "We played Australia in the finals and I can't become a bad captain overnight. A captain is as good as his team and there are no secrets to it, just that he handles certain situations. We haven't played good cricket, there are no excuses for that."

Sri Lanka came into the tournament as favourites, but have been flat over the three matches. The fielding, such a strength of theirs in Australia, was lacklustre, highlighted again by Sachithra Senanayake shelling a straightforward caught-and-bowled chance off Tamim Iqbal. The bowling hasn't shown the verve of the previous series, and some of the shot selection by the batsmen has been questionable.

"I thought the Indian game was crucial when we were 200 for 2 or 3, chasing 300-plus but somehow we failed to finish the game off and from that point onwards we have not been able to play consistent cricket," Jayawardene said. "We have to take responsibility for not playing all-round consistent cricket, that is the reason."

Sri Lanka were in Bangladesh less than 30 hours after completing a grueling tri-series in Australia, and didn't have a single training session until after their first game. Jayawardene, though, didn't blame the jam-packed itinerary for his side's listless performance.

"We knew it was a tough schedule for us but that cannot be the excuse," he said. "We made many mistakes with the bat, ball on the field, so we will go back home and assess it. We raised our game pretty well in Australia and had set some standards but we could not maintain those standards."

He also had words of praise for Bangladesh's expectation-defying performance in the tournament. "They have played some amazing cricket and as a group they have performed more than individuals."

Previously, in a Pakistan v Bangladesh match, it was clear who the overwhelming favourite was, but Bangladesh are starting to change that notion. Asked to pick a winner in Thursday's final, Jayawardene sat on the fence, though he did offer a light-hearted tip to both captains. "Both teams will be practising their tosses because batting second is a big advantage here."

Edited by Brydon Coverdale

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Valavan on March 24, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    @shivshankar bharadwaj, SA will wallop England anyday, probably you are still in 90s, even in 90s, SA never walloped England. England, SA and OZ can wallop india anyday when they get out of subcontinent. FYI, 2008 was the first time SA won in England since readmission. Its great that greatest indian batter Dravid retired now, so England will get a walking wicket in that position. cricinfo please publish

  • Dummy4 on March 24, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    @James anderson add South africa to that list of big boys . They will wallop England any day. Will see where England stand after that . Oh i almost forgot there is a srilankan series for them as well.

  • Dummy4 on March 22, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    @chilled_avenger, you are right mate, spot on with your facts. It is nice to see at least someone is coming out with real facts. Kindly tell us what is Virus average in the last test series against Australia, or for that matter for Gautams? You were the No 1 team in the world but you were well and truly whitewashed in 2 occasions. Please also note winning dead rubbers can avoid the whitewash. I think India should not be playing tests abroad with big boys of Australia and England especially on fast and bouncy tracks. They should be playing more cricket with their neighbors in more friendly conditions in the sub continent. Let the big boys play on fast and bouncy wickets. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. A good championship unit is far better than a team full of individual champions. So please dont bash Mahela or SL. Please get your own house in order first.

  • sri on March 21, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    Mahela, please please not again. Don't you ever say " we didn't play good cricket". It is like a record stuck in the same grove. For gods sake do something about it without whinging like an old woman. One good thing came about from your loss to BDesh viz, the indians who always depend on SL to either win or loose in order for them to get thro' to a final were effectively kept out of the final to allow a well deserving BDesh to have a crack at the final. Now go home and play to your potential against England and don't give lame excuses if you loose badly.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    SL team well done in down under. You were the best team in the CB series. It takes a great man to admit his own mistakes. Please concentrate on beating the Poms. If you can give them a good hiding in our own backyard then all of this fiasco in Bangladesh will be forgotton. Mahela , SL pride is in your capable hands.Good luck Mahela.Mahela all Nalandians are very proud of you. So keep up your good work.l

  • Sajith on March 21, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    You are the best captain we have ever made. Just focus on England series & get the things done correct. All the best Mahela!!! And thank you very much for the Bangladesh match. The entire nation would love that.

  • Bhagya on March 21, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    @hindh88 ::I think it is far better than 0-8....

  • Rohan on March 21, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    after every bad series you repeat the same words.where is the end of these continues and we beleive it.selectors has to wake up now.axe dilshan for a short period and try with a new stand-by guy.dont keep hopes in angelo mathews becasue it looks he dont fit into the team and also as a vice captain.i have been watching him but nothing to get from him so think about another replacement.try to introduce a performance basic payment system rather than a fixed package.prepair a full blood b team as a stand by team to replace at anytime.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    I agree with Mahela that captain is as good as the team. But one must realize that captain is one of the 11 players picked on merit. So he has a role to play as a batsman/bowler/allrounder. Mahela still has a point to prove that his test match batting form has not dipped having failed miserably in last 3 overseas tours in tests. His only innings of significance was that face saving hundred in Galle test against Aussies. Dilshan was also failing badly as a captain in his role as a batsman since his 193 against England. SA test match series was a disaster for him. What puzzles me most is how these two players get no pressure of been dropped (I am not suggesting to drop them) after a series of failures while Thilan Samaraweera the most consistent test batsman in the world since 2007(highest batting average) was dropped after failing in a single match? I exclude his 17 and 43 against Aussies in second test as failures considering the magnitude of repeated failures by both these players.

  • Arjun on March 21, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    How shame it is !! Losing the game is not a worry but the way Srilanka lost says everything. All players except maharoof are in good form and the best team SL can have, still they lost all 3 matches. It's time to learn basics, name the 15th captain for the consecutive 15th month but pls don't say that we learnt lot of new things, played positive game during presentation of each game. Where are you Ranatunga!! your tips are most welcome

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