'We are going into this match with confidence' - Moody
Rain might have ruined their party in Kolkata but Sri Lanka believe they were setting themselves up for a good score when the first match ground to a premature halt and are upbeat ahead of the second one-day international. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Tom Moody, the coach, said, "Obviously it was a very brief outing, but we thought we were holding a very strong position in the game with [Sanath] Jayasuriya's 60-plus not out. In that situation, with the depth of batting we got, we thought we would have approached more than a competitive score. We are going into this match with confidence."
Moody also said that the Sri Lankan squad for the World Cup was more or less finalised. "Our squad will be selected in a day or so and there may be one position we are not sure about," he said. "We are certainly not looking at any last-minute changes to the way we practice and prepare. We have been preparing for that tournament [World Cup] for the past 12 months. This series is a chapter in that preparation."
When asked if it was a specific spot that was up for grabs Moody said, "We are looking at improving our game constantly in all the departments but there's no specific area that we feel that we have to hone in and rectify and make changes."
Inevitably, the question of experimenting was raised and Moody reacted much as his counterpart and fellow Australian, Greg Chappell, has in the past. "The word experiment is overused, we don't experiment. We have 15 players and every one of them can make up any combination," he said. "It's the balance of the side that we feel is suited for this situation, this wicket and this opposition. We have 100 per cent faith in all the 15 players we have carried with us. We just adjust our combination according to the conditions and opposition."
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, hoped that the weather would not interfere in any of the three matches remaining in this series, and that his team would be able to force a positive result, thereby wiping out memories of the 1-6 loss they suffered at India's hands when they toured last. "It has become a pretty interesting series and, since it's now made up of three matches there can definitely be a winner if we can play all three games," he said. "We are looking forward to that. We have the personnel, we have the combination and we have the team to do that."
Jayawardene concurred with Moody in the belief that Sri Lanka were well on top in the first match, but suggested that the pitch was getting harder to bat on as the game proceeded. "In Kolkata the wicket played really well initially but Sanath said it became slower when the ball got older. We played very good cricket. We started well and, though we lost a couple of wickets, I thought we had the momentum going forward."
Jayawardene also did not want to assume that playing on Indian pitches would help their cause in the West Indies. "This tour gives us the opportunity of playing well and how well we can take that to the West Indies. But it's difficult for me to say now how the wickets will behave in the West Indies," he said. "Every wicket is going to be different. We have to go out there, assess the conditions and try and see how we can go about."
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo