India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Perth February 8, 2012

Team combination did not cause loss - Jayawardene


Mahela Jayawardene, in his first match back as Sri Lanka captain, made an interesting move in not picking a specialist spinner. Sri Lanka lost a close match, but Jayawardene did not think the team combination was the reason. "If we had taken the last four wickets, you would have said, 'good combination'. We felt the pitch was such that four seamers would probably do the job for us. Picking up wickets is very crucial against India. We went with bowlers we thought could do that."

The move seemed erroneous because the India spinners bowled well and got assistance from the pitch. Between them, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja went for 73 runs in their 20 overs and picked up four wickets. "Ashwin bowled really well," Jayawardene said. "But he is Ashwin; a tall bowler. We go with what strength we have got. We try and work on those areas, have a game plan and try to execute that.

"The bowling unit did a pretty good job. Thisara [Perera] wasn't up to the mark today. If he had been, another couple of wickets might have meant anything. Angie [Angelo Mathews] bowled really well, Dhammika [Prasad], all of those guys. I think where we went wrong was that we fell 30-40 runs short of a good total. We had a good start and just had to have one more big partnership to get to 260-270. That was our target, which we fell short of."

Sri Lanka had two half-century partnerships, three of their batsmen got starts, but no one kicked on to make a matchwinning contribution. "I thought it was a good game of cricket," Jayawardene said. "Yes, we made a few mistakes with the batting. Small partnerships probably held us back. Other than that it was a good effort. We executed a lot of our plans."

In the big picture, considering what turmoil Sri Lankan cricket is going through, a competitive showing first-up in the Commonwealth Bank Series was not too bad a start. "We have had quite a few meetings since arriving in Australia," Jayawardene said, "trying to cultivate a few things we want in the team: the thinking process, and getting the guys to take more responsibility and be freer out there when playing cricket.

"Even today we feel we can take quite a bit from the game. The attitude, the hunger they had on the field, the fielding was fantastic, the bowling was very aggressive, which was great. Hopefully we can continue to do the good things and improve in the areas we need to."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ChrisPerera on February 9, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Except Malinga rest of the bowlers are ordinary bowlers. We need wicket taking and intelligent bowlers.

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    It's totaly foolish to blame mahela. His decision to include 6 batsmen & 2 bowling alrounders wasn't a great one but that wasn't bad either. But the big mistake he made was sending Thisara @ batting powerplay when 4th wicket fallen. I think he made that decision because of perera's performance against SA specially that 69. But the thing he should have to understand is Thissara is a bighitter but he is not a believable one. We can't always send him in the powerplays and expecting bigscores. Instead of that he should've send thrimanne and atleast he'd had made some runs compared what Perera had done. I want him to do is send perera to dressing room instead of herath though i doubt it'll work against aussies.

  • rohanblue on February 9, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    @Nandika Tennakoon hw cn u blame ipl if malinga is nt bowling yorkers? its like blaming syllabus fr a student's failure , all the aussies played in ipl bt they r giving more than 100% against india, if malinga is nt bowling yorkers because of the huge money he got in ipl, its his fault, nt ipl's

  • spookygobee on February 9, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    Well said Mahela.... I always agree when a professional cricketer analyze a game... We, cricket lovers, spectators knows nothing about playing international cricket. Wonder these "non professional cricket analysts who post comments" do know how to hold a cricket bat or a ball. I really like how sehwag is talking about cricket. things like "any team can win in a given day". People talking about Thisara promoting up, not playing spinners, etc.. may not be the case if SL won. Same thing going on with indian team, going on with SL.Presence of Big guns, Dilshan, Sanga, Mahela, Mathews (if you call it) is hindering the injection of young blood. Wait and see what is going to hapen to Thirimanne..

  • yorkslanka on February 9, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    i agree that we were 40 runs short... imho this was due to the risk of promoting thisara to the pinch hitters role during the powerplay leaving thirrimane in no mans land..this is risky but had to be done as if it came off (like it did in the lst two odi's in sa) the score could have been 260-270..thirimanne needs to bat higher and i cant see how we can have mathews and thisara in the same team as, for me they perform the same role..mathews did well again and is getting good at the difficult, finishers role...for me randhiv is the person to add or even jeevan mendis, both gives the extra spinning option with some handy tail end runs...although we lost, considering this was our first game in Aus given teh rain, we did ok but need to build on this..

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 9, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Dont understand why people are calling for Thisera's head. He has always been good against india. Also whats this issue with bowlers height? . This match could have gone either way. If indian fans celebrate this victory it will be a pity. Its our bowlers who own with bat rather than the middle order. Sigh

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2012, 6:51 GMT

    Hey Mahela. what a stupid move by you to bring Lahiru 8th, and how u expect him to play shots. bad move plus we are missing ajantha mendis or rangana herath. for spinners. you should have played with maharoof rather then Prasad. maharoof will play best in those conditons. my order is . drop upul tharanga. 1) Mahela 2)Dilshaan 3)Chandiamaal 4)Sangha 5)Thirimanne 6)Angelo 7)Maharoof 8)Nuwan 9)Malinga 10)Ajantha 11)Thissara

    try this combination trust we can beat OZ but

  • zerotollerance on February 9, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Another batting failure bu mahela. Mahel is the weak link, he got out in the first over of the batting power play which put pressure on chandimal and new batsmen at the crease Perera. We are loosing because oh mahela, chandimal needs to bat 1 down instead of ever failing sangakkara , because chandimal s now the best batsmen in Sri Lanka with all the shots and power hitting. He's being wasted at 2 down when power pays are over. Sri Lanka lst this match bemuse of captaincy error, mahela failing yet again and wrong policy of not picking a spinner, randiv is a tall spinner to mjs excuse to not having a tall spinner as ashwin.

  • GravyMon on February 9, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    The final ball of the match pretty much depicted the overall Sri Lankan effort in their opening ODI game against India. It's one they should have won, but they contrived among themselves to lose pretty easily in the end. Rather than trying to defend or find reasons for their lackluster performance, I strongly urge them not to dwell too much on it and concentrate on Australia. Judging from that team selection, I believe SL may have bought a little too much into the theory that India is highly vulnerable on seaming bouncy tracks. Although India's susceptibility is far beyond a theory by now, the right bowlers and an ideal track are still key requirements, and this Perth pitch offered no such assistance. However, I do expect Sri Lanka to put up a better showing from here on in, and I look forward to seeing them in the Finals of this Commonwealth Bank Series.

  • dummy4fb on February 9, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Despite this match, I have seen huge difference from Malinga when he plays for the national team and IPL. Seems the guy does not play his with heart out when he plays for SL. Specially with his fielding and the effort of trying to add some valuable runs in to the tail when necessary. We know he got decent batting skills too.

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