June 30, 2003

'Building a team for the long term'

Wisden CricInfo staff

West Indies 191 and 212 for 3 (Sarwan 82, Lara 80*) beat Sri Lanka 208 and 194 (Collymore 7-57) by seven wickets

Brian Lara
On the Sabina Park pitch: We need such tracks for our bowlers. We need to make sure we get the opposition out and back ourselves to score runs against them. Such tracks will separate the fakes who score runs on flat tracks from those who have good techniques and score runs on any track.

On playing four fast bowlers and only five specialist batsmen: We knew if we played four fast bowlers we would decrease the amount of runs Sri Lanka will make.

On building a West Indian team for the future: We have been working towards a team that is going to do well long term, not spontaneously, here today and gone tomorrow. At the end of the day I wouldn't say we have the right 11 but the right 16-17 players to chose from for the future. I am happy to be captaining such a young side.

When I had the opportunity to captain in 1998-99, I had players like [Curtley] Ambrose and [Courtney] Walsh who were icons and there was not much I could tell them. This present group I can especially express myself and let them know exactly how I feel.

Hashan Tillakaratne
On the loss: We let ourselves down by playing irresponsible cricket. We came here to at least win a Test match. We haven't done that. We [played] irresponsible cricket.

On the pitch: In the second innings the wicket wasn't all that bad. It is just that we played poorly. We should have got at least 250-300 runs, but we got only 194, which was not good enough. The pitch improved a lot from the second session. But that is not an excuse. It is just that we played bad cricket.

On Sri Lanka's batting: West Indies bowled very well but our batsmen didn't play upto their potential. Our batting looks brittle and we need to improve on that. It was a good experience for us. It is just that we didn't take our chances.

On his own poor form: I went through a lean period with the bat in this series. Everyone is banking on me to get runs and the team may have struggled as a result.

On whether captaincy is affecting his batting: Captaincy has in fact helped me in my batting. I had a good series at home against New Zealand. It is just that I am presently going through a bad patch. I think I will be able to come out of it.

On the run-chase: Murali was bowling very well at the time and we wanted to get at least two or three wickets which we couldn't. When Brian and Sarwan were going after our bowling we were a little tensed up on the field. I think West Indies played better cricket and deserved to win. But I wish it was a three-Test series because both teams played some good cricket.

On overseas Tests: We need to improve on our skills and I hope in future we can win Test matches outside Sri Lanka.