Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, MCG, 3rd Day

Dropped catches cost us - Jayawardene

Andrew Fernando at the MCG

December 28, 2012

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said the two dropped catches in the third session on day one were crucial and might have changed the complexion of the Melbourne Test, in which Sri Lanka were defeated inside three days.

The innings and 201-run loss is the third heaviest in Sri Lanka's Test history, as the visitors succumbed to 103 all out in 24.2 overs in the second innings. Kumar Sangakkara was retired hurt however, and Prasanna Jayawardene and Chanaka Welegedara did not bat due to injury.

The visitor's first innings total was only marginally better at 156 all out but they took three Australian wickets in the evening session on day one to have the hosts 117 for 3. But two catches went down soon after when Tillakaratne Dilshan failed to hold on to a chance from Michael Clarke, off Rangana Herath, and Sangakkara shelled an edge off Shane Watson's bat.

Watson and Clarke finished the day with Australia on 150 for 3 and batted Australia into a commanding lead on day two with a 194-run partnership. They were also reprieved twice on the second morning in the same Herath over when Sangakkara could not collect the ball to stump Clarke, and Jayawardene dropped a slip catch off Watson.

"The first day was a tough one to come back from, but we fought really well in the latter part of the first evening," Jayawardene said. "We dropped two catches I thought was crucial at that time and things would have been different but Michael went and got a hundred and Watto got a fifty.

"Overall a very disappointing Test for us. Given the fact that we had played really well in Hobart and coming here, we had a lot of confidence and a good plan to execute but it was very unfortunate. That's something that we as a team need to sit down and have a good chat among ourselves and see where we need to go from here."

The tour has been particularly disappointing for Jayawardene, who has four failures in as many innings in the series so far. In the first innings in Melbourne he edged Peter Siddle to the wicketkeeper for 3, before falling for zero in the second dig, edging a Jackson Bird indipper onto the stumps as he attempted to leave the ball.

He has played several crucial innings at home in 2012, but his unflattering away record has been worsened in the last two years - he hasn't scored a fifty outside the subcontinent since March 2008 - where he averages 16.81 in the last two years, against a career average away from home of 38.00, a mark somewhat lower than his career average of 49.41.

"I have worked hard on my batting, but I haven't spent enough time in this series to see how badly I am batting. At practices I am hitting the ball pretty well, but three to four overs is not enough to assess where I need to be in the series. It's just not individuals but as a team we all need to take responsibility."

Jayawardene also said he hoped Dilshan would not make wholesale changes to his approach, despite an injudicious stroke having brought his demise in the first innings. Dilshan had been aggressive from the outset, missing his first ball having aimed a booming cover drive, and perishing after swiping across the line to a Mitchell Johnson inswinger that disturbed his stumps. Johnson also removed Dilshan in the second innings for a first-ball duck.

"Dilly is in pretty good nick. He is a naturally gifted strokeplayer and what he showed in Hobart was that he could dominate a bowling unit and get runs. He found Mitch difficult in this Test match but he is an experienced player. He will go back and revisit what happened and come back strongly. We don't want him to not play his game, because that's where he is most lethal for us."

Jayawardene denied that his spat with Sri Lanka Cricket in the lead up to the Test affected the team's preparation and mentality. SLC had issued a release stating its Executive Committee would review Jayawardene's actions after the Sri Lanka captain had said he "lost all confidence in dealing with SLC" over a leaked letter.

"I don't think it's that big an issue. It's something that's disappointing and that happened between the two Test matches, but I am focused on this tour. I told the SLC as well, and I am willing to move on."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AdamMcnulty on (December 31, 2012, 13:42 GMT)

Like I said no one questions Mahela's commitment to SL cricket and that he has guided us to many Victories. Srilankan cricket players are well loved because of people like Mahela and their attitudes.

But the point to ponder here is if Mahela has done well in swinging/bouncing wickets.

Coming from a Die hard Srilankan Fan and a Nalandian

Posted by AdamMcnulty on (December 31, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Even Sehwag who's thought of as a flat track bully has done better against these teams.

Sehwag (50.05) - ENG(6) - 27.80, AUS (11) - 46.86 , SA(8) - 25.46

And here is Mahelas record

ENG(10) - 34.11, Australia(6) - 25.66, SA (8) - 27.87

The problem is that Mahela is so consistent in the subcontinent and so strong but it all fades away once he's out of his home comforts.

He looks well uncomfortable and nervous and you cannot bet that he would not give his wicket away.

He's played a few brilliant innings abroad but if you are saving a match against a good bowling attack (ENG,SA,AUS) Who would you rather have on the wicket? Sachin?, Dravid ? Sanga? Younis? Mohommad Yousuf? or Mahela?

Posted by AdamMcnulty on (December 31, 2012, 13:29 GMT)

@Suranga: You do not get the point. No one ever questioned MJ's contribution to SL cricket. Only thing being argued is the fact that he has not done well in Aus, Eng or SA. I personally do not believe that ODI is a way to measure a players ability against quality bowling as it's a format that favors batsmen massively that even captains set defensive fields for the most attacking bowlers.

I agree with about subcontinent players not being the best in these conditions, but good players at least have done well at least in one of these countries.

Tendulkar (Career Avg 54 ), ENG(10 Matches ) - Avg - 54.31, AUS (20) - 53.20, SA(15) - 46.44

Dravid(52.31) - ENG(13) - 68.80, AUS (16) - 41.64, SA (11) - 29.71

Younis Khan(51.69) - ENG (5) - 52.22, AUS (3) - 43.16, SA(5) - 33.88

Kumar Sangakkara (55.80) - ENG(9) - 30.58, AUS- 60.33 SA(8) - 35.75

These AWAY Averages of prominent players in the subcontinent and they have done well against at least against one of these nations.

Posted by   on (December 30, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

@KingOwl , mate im talking about ODI's so you can not say that he can not play in fast wickets..Coz of him we at least managed to win 2 ODI's and Only T20 in England last summer. Also he played well in last VB series in Australia. Same thing in Wist Indies as well. He was the second highest run getter in 2007 WC and T20 WC. Look world best bating line up Indians what has happened to them ?? Subcontinent players can-not play well in those wickets. At the same time they can-not play well in subcontinent. But who talks about that. Here some people forgot his 17 year career...2 world cup finals, 2 T20 finals and won 2 Asia cup....with his contribution. Kallis avg in England is below 30 so what you can say about him ?

Posted by trav696 on (December 29, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

Overall, I hate to say it but Sri Lanka's batting performance was disgraceful. Yes the drop catches did contribute, but it was really the batting the failed. It really didn't matter if Sri Lanka had the best test bowlers and fielders in the world, if they could not get a par total consistently, they would have no chance. It has been disappointing to see Mahela's form, he has been really tentative and that I think has been his downfall. He should look to score more often (in a sensible manner) than just block and go out. He also should be more sure of himself. Anyway, the one commentator that really backed Sri Lanka has sadly passed away (Tony Greig <3). Sri Lanka should look to really play the 3rd test in honour of him and win and prove that they aren't a crap test side. Seniors in the team should lead the youngsters and they should back the seniors. An allround effort without Sangakkara, Prasanna and Welegedera will have to work, so dig deep and do it for Tony Greig.

Posted by vallavarayar on (December 29, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Now is the right time for Mahela to give us his usual speech about the batsmen needing to pull up their socks, suspenders etc,. He would do well to lift himself up by the jock straps as well instead of selling the pride of a whole nation.

Posted by vallavarayar on (December 29, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Now is the right time for Mahela to give us his usual speech about the batsmen needing to pull up their socks, suspenders etc,. He would do well to lift himself up by the jock straps as well instead of selling the pride of a whole nation.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

Mahela, you gave up the captaincy not a day too soon. now you can go back play thousands of ballsin the nets to get the technical fault that you clearly have in playing any half decent fast bowling. The NZ games at home showed this, so it's not just overseas. Hope you play for a few years yet, but as a top order player you should be scoring 3 out of every 4 innings, not one out of 10. If that is the ratio, give a youngster a go.

Posted by Balumekka on (December 29, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

Yes, Dropped catches (Clarke, Watto and Hussey) cost us. But how about SL batting? Unless Mahela address true problems in the team, this team will continue to play like a high school team. Looking at how the Seniors (except Sanga) batter in this match, its obvious the youngsters too will never learn. Even our senior batters need to get classes from Michell Jhonson about valuing their wickets.

Posted by KingOwl on (December 29, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

And one more thing, Suranga: Mahela has scored runs in England, including at Lords. But you need to get educated about wickets - Lords with the sun out is completely, totally, utterly different from when it is cloudy. One need to know when Mahela made those runs. Mahela is an extremely elegant batsman, with fantastic timing, and is a beauty to watch in full flight. But he still cannot play the fast men when there is lateral movement. That is a problem that Mahela needs to face. There is no hiding behind empty words.

Posted by KingOwl on (December 29, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

Suranga Devamullage: Where do you get your statistics? From Mahela? He averages 25.60 in tests in Australia and 34.11 in England. That is not what you expect from a top class batsman.

Posted by MH19 on (December 29, 2012, 3:25 GMT)

Mahela Aweful performance by you and your boys to loose the test in 2.5 days.When is our selectors and the Captain is going to change not selecting the same team even after loosing or even when you win its the same team guys learn from the Aussies rotate. I hope we will learn from the the 2 defeats and will post a win in sydney good luck team. My eleven as per the batting order 1. Dilshan 2. Karu 3. Chandimal/WK 4. Mathews 5.Mahela 6. Samaraweera 7.Randiv /All rounder 8.Prasad 9. Herath 10. Eranga 11.ANP Fernando No place for Injured Wela/Prassana/Sanga

Posted by galle61 on (December 29, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

very concerned about sl cricket.the whole thought process has to be changed.SL cricket has one of the best infrastructures at the school levelBatting has been SL strength.Now there are hardly ant batsmen other than a few older players.You dont need a marvan attapattu coaching the national team.he needs to coach the under 19 talent and trhe under 17 talent.You need younger players who are physicalll strong and mentally quick given more chances.SL cricket is wasting the young talent by bringing them in late and dropping them soon.Guys like duleep mendis ,roy dias wettimuny,sanath,arvinda were gere brave,young.SL cricket only needs bowling and fittness coaches>SL produced some of the best batsmen i the world without foreign coaches.now they are going down.Also they need to train with the SL commandos like greg chappel put the indian team.you have to tough.Young guys like munaweera ,mendis have to be encouraged.The game is now about nerves and mental strength.They should paly their natural

Posted by Walpita on (December 29, 2012, 2:25 GMT)

Whole problem lies with selectors and senior players. Sanga, Mahela, Thilan and Dilshan must go at least now. But a bunch of senile selectors headed by de Mel and these players themselves would not do that. Except Sanga other three are very poor in playing moving ball. The classic case is Mahela himself. As SL cannot produce muscular fast bowlers they should opt for wing bowlers in the calibre of Vass. New players like Thirimanne, Chandimal, Angelo Perera must be given long tenures. I do not know who is the batting coach now. But whoever it is he should check his head on what he is doing. SLC is also the worst administration in the entire cricket world. So nobody can expect miracles in short run. It is very common in Sri Lankathat not only in cricket even in any other area country does not have long term plans.

Posted by torsha on (December 29, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

TYJAY: IPL shouldn't be blamed here. They didn't force SL players to participate in the league. It is on players where they want to see them in future..playing 20-20 or tests. So please refrain your statement and don't blame IPL and give excuses.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 23:58 GMT)

@rajcan, It is true that Mahela didn't play well in last 20 innings or so..But it cleary show your poor memory about past 17 years or so...when he took over the Captiancy in 2006 he started with Majestic match saving inng of 119 at Loard's and we manged to level the series 1-1 and won all 5 ODI'S with his 2 hundreds. He averages over 50 in England against England and 40 in Australia against in Australia. Under his captiancy we won the 1st time in WI also he made a hundred. So do not try to ignore his service. Also his second term ( 1 year ) we were runner up in T20 Wc , VB series in Australia, Won against Pakistan, leveled with England and NZ...So do not give any harsh comment about any players in the side. They are doing wonderful service to the small nation.

Posted by Sageleaf on (December 28, 2012, 23:43 GMT)

It's another loss for SL. I told this before they left to Australia. I think SL is not playing as a team. Also they totally struggle facing pace. All top players are failing miserably. But the beauty is they still continue to play. Sure Mahela, Sanga and Dilshan are great batsmen but now it is time to retire and give younger players the opportunity. Mathews is not a captain material. The way he gave his wicket was horrible as if he does not have patience. Mahela gets out cheaply. The Australians have done their home work as usual and know how to deal with SL. Mahela's field placing is very questionable. Aussies scored freely because there was plenty of singles on offer. SL is handing a victory to Australia on a silver platter. Sri Lankan fielding was very poor once again except for brilliant effort by Hearth and Mahela. I wonder why SL is not trying out young players. Bowlers are totally unfit and SL should change all the coaches except Ford and get some foreign coaches.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 28, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

I have said it before & I'll say it again. Having been & seen the area, Galle is a perfect pitch to develop pace & bounce. If SLCA developed this ground to a level where it competes with Perth, then Sri Lanka will benefit with both bowlers & batsmen who will develop the necessary techniques to play on such pitches. The venue would also benefit SL when playing other sub continent teams. Bowlers will want to bowl quickly, batsmen will improve & adapt.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 28, 2012, 22:51 GMT)

Mahela certainly looks the part of a reluctant Captain, & it shows. There is still a place for Sri Lankan cricket, it is still one of the toughest series to win away as just about all the other countries will agree.

Posted by rajcan on (December 28, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

Cricket only will be entertaining and attract more people when players are chosen not based on their past performance and statistics. Over all average give wrong picture, If one makes single digit in 5 innings and then score 250 against weaker opponent, the overall average increases. Most of the young ones wont get a chance to play again when they make single digit in 4 innings.

Mahela hasn't made any impact outside of subcontinent since 2008. His overall average is around 49. That said, in the last 4 innings his average is 8.5. The series is already won by Australia. Mahela might score 100 in the next test and his average might improve, but whats the point??. He never batted very well when the entire team is struggling especially outside of sub continent and especially even though he is a captain. Cricket fans will be happy to see young talented players play and fail, not someone who piled up runs in subcontinent and contiguously failing overseas.

Posted by TYJAY on (December 28, 2012, 21:22 GMT)

Afghanistan would have played much better than SL!!!

Mahela Maina's days are over. Please step down and disappear.You cannot even bat. Mahela has done huge damage to SL cricket by promoting Indian IPL amongst SL players.

Dilshan shocked in 2nd innings as well.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 19:58 GMT)

It is the batting let us down more than the fielding. Batting let us down twice whereas feilding done it only one session

Posted by Raj2000 on (December 28, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Two dropped catches caused SL the match, Mahela? Are you kidding??? How about the lack of batting, penetrating bowling or dismal fielding? Are we forgetting those? Yes, catches make matches but cricket is much, much more than that. If your batting and bowling isn't up to par, no amount of catches would do you any good. To be fair, what SL lack isn't talent but rather the self belief and determination - mental game. (Their team selection is also is a lot to be desired but that's a different story.)

Posted by funkyandy on (December 28, 2012, 18:13 GMT)

The whole batting line up failed at the MCG. Mahela J is coming in for a hell of a lot criticism which is largely undeserved. He may be in a bad run in test cricket, but he'll bounce back - the guy is sheer class! Mahela & Kumar must stay on and Tillers is still the best opener SL have, but I fear that Samarawerra must make way for next generation - preferably for Chandimal, who looks the business!

Posted by CricketChat on (December 28, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Despite a fighting, if lucky, century from Dilshan in the last test, it has become very obvious on this tour that that the 4 batting stalwarts in Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela and Thilan Samaraweera are pretty much on their last legs as far as test cricket is concerned. They looked jaded, worn out and didn't look very enthusiastic on the field either. It is the right time for SL authorities to phase them out and usher in new players with an eye to the next 5-7 years. Not to forget, they must find new bowling talent as well as the current lot look a tad below international class.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

I think all SL supporters agree that Chandimal should be playing in the first 11, whether as a wk/bat or even just as a batsman to blood him. SL are not bringing the next generation into their squads, and when you look at other teams around the world such as South Africa or India they are bringing through the next stars of cricket. The last SAF vs NZ T20 game, I only recognised around 4 of the players, and they performed so well as a team. I know that T20 is a different game to Tests, however how long are the SL board going to hold onto players like Samaraweera and Dilshan who are not consistent (Im surprised Dilhara Fernando didnt get his regular Aus call up too! *thank god*). Our pace attack is in shambles, why Thisara Perera doesnt get a nod is beyond me, and in the world cup the young spinner Akila looked promising. Angelo Mathews needs to stand up if he is going to be the next skipper and comparing him to India's Kohli and Jadeja he just doesnt match up as a game changer.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 28, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

@Ishan Hannan, I agree and disagree. Remember always that catches win matches. If we took the 2 catches of Watson and Clarke on day 1, we may have avoided innings loss. But yes in test cricket, you must be ready to last as long as possible. But with our lack of test matches, it is clear we are unable to last long. In the first innings, except for the wickets of PJ and Prasad, rest of the top order fell due to rash shots and none of them were wicket taking deliveries. Mahela is too negative too as a captain as in the Hobart test, he gave over 150 singles with the spread out fields. ICC should impose SLC a hefty fine for culling off test matches, which no other test playing nation has done!

Posted by kc69 on (December 28, 2012, 15:38 GMT)

I believe scoring more runs will also win matches Mr.Jaywardene.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 15:32 GMT)

Well said Ishan. The problem is not dropped catches but no technique to bat on faster bouncer pitches. Dilshan was likely to score 149 last match, lady luck will not work every time. Mahela does not seem to know where is off stump is (I am suprised) Thilan is falling over so can always get lbw. Angelo is doing the opposite, he is playing away from his body, slip practice player. I dont know what SL batting coach is doing, but I reckon I can do a better job.

Posted by torsha on (December 28, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

Mahela please don't say drop catches cost the game. Our entire batting line has failed.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (December 28, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

Taking the maxim 'catches win matches' a bit far.

Posted by _MiddleStump_ on (December 28, 2012, 15:17 GMT)

I'm a big supporter of Sri Lanka... but honestly, MJ needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Drop chances wasn't what blew Sri Lanka out of the water. It's the inability of the top order to bat outside of Asia. Sanga is a living legend, no doubt and can score on the moon if need be. The rest of the batting line up was blown away by pace. The other thing is I cannot for the life of me understand how you get a run out in the first over of Day 3 when you are 300 runs behind!

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

we first have to score runs in the first innings, and then hold the catches. Mahela better score some runs in his last test down under too

Posted by KingOwl on (December 28, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

I think it is clear that Mahela does not have the technique to be successful against the pacy, moving ball. It is not just this tour, but it has been the case for years. Sanga has the technique, so do a few others. But not Mahela, unfortunately. I think he has been OK as a captain, not great. He has been great as a batsman at home. But I think it is time for Mahela to face facts. Also, the dropped catches were far from the reason for the loss. It was poor batting, modest bowling, and poor catching. Unless the wicket in Sidney does not help lateral movement, I think it might be good to drop Mahela for the final test. Let Angelo captain - as a test of things to come. Bring in the two young batsmen (Thirimanna and Chandimal) and Thisara Perera as a fast bowling all rounder (he will surely make more runs than Mahela!).

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 15:03 GMT)

Is mahela dreaming...why is he talking about drop catches when you are not ready to bat for 25 overs..Pathetic display!!!! Thank you Mahela for your services and pls say good bye to every one as you are not fit to be in the playing eleven when you are unable to score a 50 plus in a test inning for 3 years out side sri lanka, SL selectors pls open your eyes and get Chandimal/thirimanne and Angelo Perera in to the side and move on....

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