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'Persisting with Jayasuriya did not help'
Sanjay Manjrekar analyses Sri Lanka's defeat against England team in the semi-final (05:13)
May 13, 2010
England v Sri Lanka, World T20, 1st semi-final, St Lucia
'Persisting with Jayasuriya did not help'May 13, 2010
Andrew McGlashan: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk, and this afternoon I am joined by Sanjay Manjrekar to look back on a convincing victory for England in the first semi-final of the World Twenty20 here in St Lucia. Sanjay, that was a mighty performance by England, what did you make of it?
Sanjay Manjrekar: Well, tremendous. England has been in great form, and they continued that form in a very important game. It's okay to show good form in the league stage and the Super Eights where you get another chance, but then some teams come under too much pressure when it is a knockout situation and when you know there is so much to achieve by just winning a game. You thought perhaps that might affect England's performance but that wasn't to be. I don't think England has looked so impressive in an ICC tournament for a long time. It's an impressive looking team, and at this stage you are struggling to find a weakness in that team.
AM: What do you think you can put that back to? Even six months back they weren't half as competitive as they are now. Have you spotted one or two changes in the team that has made them this ultra-competitive Twenty20 side?
SM: One thing that really strikes you, I haven't watched each and every game that England has played back home, is that they are playing smart cricket compared to the England I saw few months ago in an ICC tournament. England have always been more orthodox, they played copy book coaching manual type of cricket, but now you are seeing some street smartness in the way they are playing, especially their bowling. There was a lot of smartness in their bowling, short of length bowling at a slow pace, bowlers who can bowl in the 140s but were bowling at 120s.
They also understood the weaknesses of the opposition. So today, I think, the most impressive facet of England's bowling was how smart they bowled at the Asian batsmen.
AM: A word on Sri Lanka, they've had a difficult tour, they never quite hit their stride as they did in England last year. Today they were well off the pace; can you pick one reason why they have been down on form in this tournament?
SM: They have been below power, and I think they were fortunate to get through to the final four. It's something that Sangakkara will be the first one to accept. Few reasons, the obvious one being Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, batting at the top and failing. At the end of the tournament, Sri Lanka will feel that persisting with Sanath Jayasuriya at the top wasn't helping matters. Even today, in an important match Jayasuriya fell early. Whether it should have been Sangakkara up there opening the batting with Mahela Jayawardene. The batting has been a problem; Jayawardene was carrying the bulk of the batting until the last two games. When he failed, it was really Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews who came to the party. They needed Dilshan and Jayasuriya to strike.
Their seam attacked lacked a bit of sting. Lasith Malinga was good, but there is a heavy dependence on him. The spinners did as well as they could. But if I have to pick out one thing, they it would be their batting. Out of the five or six batsmen that they have, at one stage they would have only one or two firing.
AM: Do you think we are coming to a bit of change of an era now for Sri Lanka? Jayasuriya surely can't go much longer, Murali has been injured in this tournament, and you don't know how he is set for the World Cup, probably his final hurrah. Do you think there will be a change of guard for Sri Lankan cricket?
SM: That's likely to happen, and it's generally around the ICC tournament that all this happens. I think there will be a bit of change in Indian line-up as well. So I don't think you should be too surprised if you see some things happening there in Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka has got the depth, they have got some exciting young players coming through. And once they know for sure that they are going to be part of that XI, then their self confidence rises.
[Chamara] Kapugedera looks good. I thought [Suraj] Randiv bowled excellently, so Murali's place will be taken by him. Ajantha Mendis on good pitches is starting to worry Sri Lanka a bit, is he only a bad pitch bowler? They will be hoping that Mendis comes up with more performances. But Sri Lanka have nothing to worry about. I think they still have a wealth of talent and a couple of guys who are there to guide Sri Lanka for a while in Jayawardene and Sangakkara.
AM: We don't know the second finalist, could be Australia, could be Pakistan. But do you think England stand a good chance irrespective of who they play?
SM: I am just hoping that it's England and Australia, for the simple reason that they have been the most consistent teams. You want to see that, you don't want to see a team not playing so well but just turning up a good performance on a given day, maybe just playing well in 3-4 overs and getting through to the final.
England have won five of their last six matches, five (sic. four) on the trot. Australia haven't lost anything. So these are the teams who deserve to get through. Pakistan have been scratchy, and to an extent lucky getting into the semi-final.
As a cricket lover, I would like to see England and Australia in the final, because they've been the best two teams so far.
AM: Thanks for joining us Sanjay. We will look forward to the second semi-final tomorrow.
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