Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Perth February 9, 2012

Jayawardene targets Australian attack

The Sri Lankan captain admits Australia have a strong batting line-up and that his side will have to devise a game plan to rein them in
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The triangular series needs a strong Sri Lanka, especially after their slow start to the tournament on Wednesday night in Perth. The much-criticised format finds itself in a strange situation even before the end of the first of the four legs of the league stage. The crowds are coming to Australia games only - the India-Sri Lanka game was watched by fewer than 7000 at the WACA - but it's when India played Sri Lanka that we got the only close international game of the summer, across formats. Then again the close game lacked the quality and intensity Australia have brought. Clearly we need both India and Sri Lanka to run Australia close to prevent the return of the bad old days of the triangular, which starts to feel bloated if one team is significantly more dominant than the others.

Sri Lanka stood up to, and bossed Australia when they last played here, winning their first series in the country, though that was a bilateral. Their chance to do so again arrives on Friday, and the captain Mahela Jayawardene feels they can hurt Australia's bowling. That is an interesting observation considering how well the Australian quicks have bowled to the Indian batsmen all summer. There has been little let-up even though several of the first-choice quicks have not been available because of injuries: Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Brett Lee.

Jayawardene, though, thinks his side can push the Australian bowling. "Right now, the bowling probably [the weakness he sees]," Jayawardene said. "[Ryan] Harris has come back after injury, he is a decent bowler, but they are still missing quite a few front-line guys. That's an area we can target."

It was more an honest assessment than any disrespect or an attempt at mental games by Jayawardene. "Overall they are a strong side," he said. "They have got good batting, but with any strong batting line-up we need to pick up wickets. We need to come up with a game plan to do that. Think we did that to a certain extent [against India]. We will try to do the same with Australia as well."

If there is a lesson Sri Lanka can learn from India - and there can't be many from a side that has lost all its games against the hosts so far bar one Twenty20 - is that Australia's batting can be shaky. Often India have been able to get through Australia's top order, but have just as often, and frustratingly, failed to convert them into wins.

Jayawardene realises that. "We have to be smart to beat them," he said. "We know what their strengths are. We know what our strengths are. It's all about how you are going to apply on the day. You get into different situations in a match. Certain situations we didn't handle better than India. That's why they won the game. Against Australia we will be in certain situations again, we have to handle them in a much smarter and better way. Try and be on top of them, and try and finish a game off."

Sri Lanka must be given some elbow room, for the India game was their their first after dramatic turmoil - and we don't quite know if it has ended - in their cricket. The coach and captain have been changed for mysterious reasons, the players haven't been paid for a while, and they have an old hand now taking up captaincy in the interim. Jayawardene said he felt the nerves when he went out for the toss for the first time since he resigned as captain.

"All that [the long-term future] is far ahead," Jayawardene said. "I haven't given it much thought. The decision to take over was a very tough one. The easiest thing for me was to say no. But the situation we are in right now I felt I needed to take that responsibility. And try and do my best and see what happens. Spoke to the usual people that I speak to about the game, they all felt the same way. It took me 24 hours to take the call."

Jayawardene has a completely different team to lead from the one whose reins he relinquished exactly three years back. Back then, he had Muttiah Muralitharan at the height of his powers, and he was used to winning much more than Sri Lanka have managed over the last year.

"I don't want to compare," Jayawardene said. "The team I had was different, but I am trying to do something that is unique. I have still got some really good players. It's how we get combinations, it's how we get different players to identify their roles, and play vital roles in the team. That's what we are trying to do. I was nervous going for the toss, to be honest with you, but after that, once the game started it was fine. Hopefully it will be the same as usual."

Sri Lanka will look for a big improvement from their big three batsmen - Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Jayawardene himself. Lasith Malinga too faces a new challenge with the two-ball rule. The ball hardly gets old nowadays, which combined with the lush outfields makes it difficult for him to get much reverse swing.

Like India, Sri Lanka find themselves out of their comfort zone here in Australia, but if they do overcome the many odds at the WACA on Friday they will leave the tournament in a much healthier shape than now.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fadms on February 10, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Mahela should just not be in this team. He is not pulling his weight at all as he is really out of form. Dilshan is showing signs of getting back into form but needs to push on for a big score. Chandimal...well it is there for all to see, what a gem of a player and Matthews...well done. It was a good knock you played dude and you bowled really well too. I am for more youngsters in this team....

  • ground-boy on February 10, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    Bowlers did well to restrict Aussies below 240. Batsmen cannot let it fell short of the moderate target 232 against depleted attack even after being 1 for 11 and Sanga's fatal run out when he was at 22.

  • on February 10, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    It has become fashion to criticise Indian team members for their poor performance in England and Australia. Those people never mention about Indian team's performance on its own soil by beating West Indies in the series and then routing England in ODI 4-0. If India lost in foreign pitches even England and West Indies also lost miserably outside their Country. We have seen how England suffered in the hands of Pakistan in Test Series in UAE by 4-0. Even Australia was humbled in India and Newzeland when they toured. Targeting only Indians is not good. We have many talented youngsters who with experience can beat any team in future. Let us support our team than unnecessarily abusing and demoralising them.

  • taniap on February 10, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    We are with you all the way Boyz! Go SL So!

  • aryan_ab on February 10, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Being an Indian fan, i feel really surprised by the optimism that other Indian fans show after the team has won just ODI and a good for nothing T20. Except the fact folks, we had been hammered in England and in the test series in Australia. Even in the one dayer against Australia, we were bashed by the superior game from Kangaroos and we left no stone unturned to loose the match against Sri Lanka which we could have won very easily !!

  • on February 10, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    I'm Janaka,crazy cricket lover from Sri Lanka,this is for indian friends,pls don't critisize SL cricket & team,you haven't got a right to do so,that was a 1 match,let's see what will happen in the future,don't be selfishmy indian friennds,we are going to win the cup,i know defanaitely SL & Aus will come to the final & we do win the sereas.Mahela is the gratest captain Sl has ever produced with Arjuna Ranatunga.let's see what will happen to your indian team in next matches,Mahela will give the answers with batting & his smart tactics managing the team.don't underestimate SL team & players,pls try to give some credits for them,we know what is the game of cricket.let them to reorganise & they will perform well,i know they do bring the trophy to motherland.good luck Sri Lanka,we are with you,no need to answer to tjese boasting indians again & again,we will show you with our talants,wish you all the very best Sri Lanka.Janaka Rathnagoda

  • on February 10, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Well I guess Mahela is way off the mark when he says that Australian batting is strong and that their bowling is their weakness

    But its true to an extent that siddle and hilfenhaus arent playing the one dayers but then they still have enough ammunition.The problem with one day cricket is that even a strong bowling attack isnt enough to win matches, its a batsman's game

  • Rooboy on February 10, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    @6pack - Australia don't claim to be the best test side either, because they're not at the moment and have work to do to get back to #1. But we're dealing with one dayers now and Aus ARE the best ODI side, according to the rankings they are miles ahead of the closest competitor. Same to RohanMarkJay_TestCricketRules to ProdigyB - the rankings speak for themselves - if you think Aus are overrated in the one day arena, or not as good as they're being made out to be, then that's simply because you haven't been keeping up with their ODI results of the last few years. Cue the dissenters with one off examples to try to invalidate overall results ...

  • LeoE on February 10, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    Sri Lanka cannot afford to win with 233 on the board batting first. Any top team can score that against their indisciplined bowling attack. All their bowlers go for five an over and above. So how can SL win with anything under 270, on any Aussie wicket. As soon as the first wicket goes down. Sanga comes in and although he is rock solid, bowlers know how to slow him down. Mahela is the only batsman who can rorate the strike at will. Whenever he has opened SL has done well. Can SL afford to have such a quality player sitting on a chair till the third wicket falls in the 25th over ?. If Mahela bats 40 overs SL will win nine out of ten games.

  • on February 10, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    @6pack: It is worth remembering that the last ODI then was the only game Starc played. So it is logical to compare that game only since 75% of the current attack is similar to that. It would be better if you think before you ink and attack others. I wonder if you remember but most Aussies agreed that time that SL played better cricket in that series despite playing against an injury-struck opposition. There is no lack of sportsmanship attitude in this country unlike what you may think!

  • fadms on February 10, 2012, 12:36 GMT

    Mahela should just not be in this team. He is not pulling his weight at all as he is really out of form. Dilshan is showing signs of getting back into form but needs to push on for a big score. Chandimal...well it is there for all to see, what a gem of a player and Matthews...well done. It was a good knock you played dude and you bowled really well too. I am for more youngsters in this team....

  • ground-boy on February 10, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    Bowlers did well to restrict Aussies below 240. Batsmen cannot let it fell short of the moderate target 232 against depleted attack even after being 1 for 11 and Sanga's fatal run out when he was at 22.

  • on February 10, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    It has become fashion to criticise Indian team members for their poor performance in England and Australia. Those people never mention about Indian team's performance on its own soil by beating West Indies in the series and then routing England in ODI 4-0. If India lost in foreign pitches even England and West Indies also lost miserably outside their Country. We have seen how England suffered in the hands of Pakistan in Test Series in UAE by 4-0. Even Australia was humbled in India and Newzeland when they toured. Targeting only Indians is not good. We have many talented youngsters who with experience can beat any team in future. Let us support our team than unnecessarily abusing and demoralising them.

  • taniap on February 10, 2012, 8:36 GMT

    We are with you all the way Boyz! Go SL So!

  • aryan_ab on February 10, 2012, 6:42 GMT

    Being an Indian fan, i feel really surprised by the optimism that other Indian fans show after the team has won just ODI and a good for nothing T20. Except the fact folks, we had been hammered in England and in the test series in Australia. Even in the one dayer against Australia, we were bashed by the superior game from Kangaroos and we left no stone unturned to loose the match against Sri Lanka which we could have won very easily !!

  • on February 10, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    I'm Janaka,crazy cricket lover from Sri Lanka,this is for indian friends,pls don't critisize SL cricket & team,you haven't got a right to do so,that was a 1 match,let's see what will happen in the future,don't be selfishmy indian friennds,we are going to win the cup,i know defanaitely SL & Aus will come to the final & we do win the sereas.Mahela is the gratest captain Sl has ever produced with Arjuna Ranatunga.let's see what will happen to your indian team in next matches,Mahela will give the answers with batting & his smart tactics managing the team.don't underestimate SL team & players,pls try to give some credits for them,we know what is the game of cricket.let them to reorganise & they will perform well,i know they do bring the trophy to motherland.good luck Sri Lanka,we are with you,no need to answer to tjese boasting indians again & again,we will show you with our talants,wish you all the very best Sri Lanka.Janaka Rathnagoda

  • on February 10, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Well I guess Mahela is way off the mark when he says that Australian batting is strong and that their bowling is their weakness

    But its true to an extent that siddle and hilfenhaus arent playing the one dayers but then they still have enough ammunition.The problem with one day cricket is that even a strong bowling attack isnt enough to win matches, its a batsman's game

  • Rooboy on February 10, 2012, 4:00 GMT

    @6pack - Australia don't claim to be the best test side either, because they're not at the moment and have work to do to get back to #1. But we're dealing with one dayers now and Aus ARE the best ODI side, according to the rankings they are miles ahead of the closest competitor. Same to RohanMarkJay_TestCricketRules to ProdigyB - the rankings speak for themselves - if you think Aus are overrated in the one day arena, or not as good as they're being made out to be, then that's simply because you haven't been keeping up with their ODI results of the last few years. Cue the dissenters with one off examples to try to invalidate overall results ...

  • LeoE on February 10, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    Sri Lanka cannot afford to win with 233 on the board batting first. Any top team can score that against their indisciplined bowling attack. All their bowlers go for five an over and above. So how can SL win with anything under 270, on any Aussie wicket. As soon as the first wicket goes down. Sanga comes in and although he is rock solid, bowlers know how to slow him down. Mahela is the only batsman who can rorate the strike at will. Whenever he has opened SL has done well. Can SL afford to have such a quality player sitting on a chair till the third wicket falls in the 25th over ?. If Mahela bats 40 overs SL will win nine out of ten games.

  • on February 10, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    @6pack: It is worth remembering that the last ODI then was the only game Starc played. So it is logical to compare that game only since 75% of the current attack is similar to that. It would be better if you think before you ink and attack others. I wonder if you remember but most Aussies agreed that time that SL played better cricket in that series despite playing against an injury-struck opposition. There is no lack of sportsmanship attitude in this country unlike what you may think!

  • shuvo_bba on February 10, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    Mahela is not entirely wrong! Australia are missing the first-choice quicks like Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Brett Lee & Mitchell Johnson but u have to look at the gradual improvement. The rest of the quicks covering up for them are not doing bad at all. Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Clint Mckay, Ben Hilfy can lift up and grind down the Srilankan & "historically great(!)" batting line up of India. Come on guys! they have showed it repeatedly in the Test series!

  • on February 10, 2012, 3:36 GMT

    I hope sri lanka have a better answer to aussies and win this match, otherwise this series will be borrrriiiinnggggg. No wonder ppl watch American football in U.S coz nowadayz cricket matches are so one-sided.

  • on February 10, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    Come on lions we can do it,why not?

  • mysay on February 10, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    Here we go again, Indian blokes have already written down as the winners of the CB series. Not long ago I can recall the same Indian fans calling for Sehwag, Gambhir, VVS & SRT's removal, and it's only a matter of time till the Indian fans come down on these players after the CB series like a ton of brick for poor performances. I also wish to add, oddly India is the only team opposing the DRS system when the whole world approves it. Anyway I would not want the DRS if I did not have walkers in the team. In all fairness that's where I really respect Dravid, because he purely is the only walker in the Indian team. So go head knick it, get a few plumbs grass some catches and get away with it. Surely this is the only way India can win, or even come close. Therefore even if SL lose they are still our heroes as they uphold the laws of the game and they play the gentlemens game just the way it should be played.

  • BravoBravo on February 10, 2012, 2:51 GMT

    Yes, IND won the match against SL. Regarding that, I have a feeling it is the first and going to be the last ODI win for IND during this whole CB series. Well GO SL and GO AUS. Should be interestingmatch.

  • jgoogly on February 10, 2012, 1:52 GMT

    People have short memories Mahela is a gentleman and has scored a heap of Runs. He is the right person to captain. Hello if he had clung on to his Captainship Kumar would not have Captained. Kumar and Sanga are great friends. Mendis is a good bowler and is he in the Squad?

  • on February 10, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    First you should be able to hurt Vinay and Praveen's bowling. Then you can talk about hurting Aussie bowling. As for Australia's batting, Ponting and Clarke are not shaky at all.

  • on February 10, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    Love how some people are bringing up Aus past failures in test matches as an indication of how ODI performancewill go, maybe you guys should check the ODI points rankings and see the difference between 1st and 2nd due to Aus consistency in the ODI format. SL got outplayed at "home" by Aus not too long ago or do u guys have short memories? If anything it will be easier to hammer SL at home barring a malinga MOM performance.

  • Mitcher on February 10, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    @6pack, Patchmaster: You guys do realise Test cricket and ODIs are different, right? Just checkin'.

  • on February 10, 2012, 0:10 GMT

    you are joking, right? You really cannot be serious!!

  • Drew12 on February 9, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @Patchmaster actually it was three months ago and it is more worth remembering the fact that 19 wickets fell in the space of 29.2 overs for 94 runs. Co-incidentally, SA lost their last 9 for 47 runs before Australia lost their 10 for the very same amount. More than anything else the facts suggest that during that period batting was incredibly difficult. BTW a fact neglected by such biased commentators is that Australia managed to draw that away series 1-1 which followed a 1-0 series win in Sri Lanka. Maybe that Chokkakash fellow can look at these facts also before making his comments - they are always about how from now on only teams playing at home will win.

  • on February 9, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    Mahela Aussies currently have very good fast bowling unit.Please do not upset them.Are you still thinking about IPL, Mahela.? Lets your bat speak.

  • on February 9, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    Don't get people backing SL to go to the final. India did a pretty good job in the field in the first two ODIs especially with their bowling. SL struggled to get to 220. Agreed India's batting has been extremely poor but SL is no better when it comes to playing good quicks.

  • on February 9, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    Mr. Gupta, you were asking what the hell SL doing here? You should ask the same question about your Indian team. I live in Aussie and this was one of the worst test match series I have ever seen. It was so one sided. You were whitewashed in England and now in Australia. We should have invited Kiwis for the CB series along with SL. I agree with you SL is bad at this moment but India is worse. SL has a big mountain to climb tonight against Australia but I am sure they will do better than what you did in Melbourne on Sunday.May the best team win.

  • on February 9, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    @ Gupta Rajiv, Yes the Aussies came out in big numbers to see Australia humiliate your team 4-0 in tests, but not to see the so-called "greatest" batsmen. No one cares about them, but ppl enjoy to see India getting beaten.

  • Penny71 on February 9, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    Interesting comment from Rajiv Gupta. SL played mush better cricket in SA than indian toiling here. They even chased down 300+ scores and won and lost 2 games marginally.I will be commenting again in few weeks about who is playing in the final, of course with Aussies.

  • Busie1979 on February 9, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    The bowling line up is outstanding. Australia could fill 4 ODI teams with a quality pace attack. This doesn't mean SL can't make big runs against the Aussies, but they will be facing a quality attack and will have to bat out of their skins.

  • on February 9, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    I agree that Mahela is the weakest link in the team at the moment.Just look at his scores over the last year in ODI's.Most vulnarable batsman against pace in the top order.Its a fortune if he survives 10 over's.Burden to the team.One should first qualify himself to be selected to the team before being the captain.Drop him and give his place to Thirimane.Give the younsters a chance.Better for Sri lanka to loose with them than with big talkers like MAhela.Then there is space for another bowler to accomadate.We lacked a bowler in the last match.It is unfortunate that the selectors doesnt have a vision to find a captain other than Mahela or Sanga in this team.I feel Dilshan would have given another chance.He was doing well with the youngsters. Upul thranga or Malinga would have been alternatives.

  • Patchmaster on February 9, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    Worth remembering that AUS were nearly bowled out for the lowest score in test history, only a few weeks ago. It'll be closer than you think with SL versus AUS

  • on February 9, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    If you want to take wickets, setting defensive fields won't help. Spreading the field and allowing singles may not be the best tactic especially when you haven't posted a good score. Ashwin and Jadeja were able to frustrate you. They are not the greatest batsmen in the world.

  • Sageleaf on February 9, 2012, 20:27 GMT

    Guys stop bashing Jayawardena…his bat will do the talking … Sri Lankans got to believe in themselves and go all out with the Aussies. If they win the toss they should field. I think against India was a very bad decision to bat first. Sadly our bowling sucks. Malinga bowls very much better with Mumbai Indians than with Sri Lanka.

  • on February 9, 2012, 20:12 GMT

    Go lanka Go .. all money on lanka !!

  • Ms.Cricket on February 9, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    "The only close international game of the summer, across formats"??? What about the Hobart Test between Aus and NZ that NZ won by 7 runs???

  • on February 9, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    batting order is all wrong. Tharanga and Dilshan aren't working at the moment opening, try something different, open jayawardene and tharanga, keep sanga at 3, chandimal at 4 then dilshan, mathews and perera to hopefully hit out. thirimanne is a rotator of strike, he even is another batsman that could open, thirimanne/dilshan, tharanga at 3. we have 8 batsman with ability, and even kulasekara/malinga/prasad can even make 40 between them. no excuse not to make 300 tomorrow.

  • mansman on February 9, 2012, 16:54 GMT

    Australia is going to get licked against SL. Ponting et al will fail. Aus batsmen performed against a low energy Indian side and falsely think they are back in form. And this same false thinking is going to result in a 10-0 drubbing against England next year.

  • on February 9, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    i am a west indian. you guys need to stop criticizing jayawardene. finding positive stuff is what he needs for his team. i see him as 1 of the best captains in the world. with respect to dhoni, we all in the world should realize he aint the best captain in the world. he has shown that he is 1 dimensional, in the matter that he employs the same subcontinent tactics on completely different pitches in the world. india is losingtest cricket because there batsmen are playing like they are on the subcontinent wickets as well as dhoni's tactical thinking. many will think that jayawardene had the luxury of muralitharan in his last stint of captaincy in being a successful captain, but i think he is the best because he knows how to deal with tough situations on the field and also is 1 of the best tacticians going around. so i expect him to build this sri lankan team

  • on February 9, 2012, 16:45 GMT

    Srilanka has a real mountain to climb on Friday. But still they have all the potential to make Aussies run for their money,and it would also open up the series if they beat Ozies on Friday

  • on February 9, 2012, 16:41 GMT

    why the hell srilanka playing here...no crowd come to see these old fashionsed sl team....aussie n india will toy them for fun n will play final.....sl is just a formality here.

  • 6pack on February 9, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Dear Plod: I wouldn't start talking game mate, when your team was bowled out for a mere 47 just a few months ago... and it took your last pair to salvage something better than the WORST EVER TEST SCORE IN CRICKET HISTORY!!!!! Now that's something to boast about isn't it? At Least we Sri Lankans don't claim to be the best... we're clearly not, and are working on getting up there.

    And Sriraj G.S: Why talk about the last game of that series, when SL had already won the series and went out drinking the night before that game you mentioned... because clearly they didn't care about that last game.

  • ProdigyA on February 9, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    I think Cricinfo is getting way too carried away with Australia now. Relax people, Aus is not that good as you guyz are trying to put forward not it is nowhere near its past glory of warne, mcgrath, gilly, hayden etc. I think you guys forgot that Aus got hammered by England and lost even to NZ, not too long ago. So one good series against an aging Indian team does not make them great again. So relax, SL is just getting warmed up and India are the World Champs. Dont be surprised if there is a India - SL final.

  • pitch_curator on February 9, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    I feel that this series is a lot more closer than it looks. Definitely Australia will lose 2-3 matches at a stretch as their ODI side is not as good as it looks. They have been able to carry the test momentum into the first ODI where India missed a trick by not picking 3 seamers and not playing Sehwag and gifting away wickets. I expect India and Srilanka to lift their games in the next 2-3 matches and they will give Australia a run for their money.. Interestingly both these teams won their last series in Australia

  • on February 9, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Go Jayawardana I know you could clean this Aussi boys any given day, little banter want go waste.

  • on February 9, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    Play the spinner please. Senanayake in for Thirimanne

  • on February 9, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Once again Mahela has opened his mouth. for heavens sake let your bat do the talking. After Durban test win you were the one who came up talking although you did not do anything significant to contribute to that win. You and all so called senior players conspired and sent Thilan home after SA test series when he was the only one who showed correct technique to handle exreme pace and swing. It was a blessing in disguise that you got "injured" for last two SA ODI series matches. You were on the verge of been dropped due to poor form. Now you are under the "captaincy immunity" and cannot be dropped. The man who deserves to captain SL ODI team is scoring centuries in domestic cricket. As you used to say It is you who have to pull up your socks. Not the others.

  • on February 9, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Why not send Chandimal to open.

  • braveknight on February 9, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    SL abandoned a no-nonsense captain to a one that talks a lot - i hope they'll get down to business and focus on getting back into form.

  • Kavum on February 9, 2012, 14:08 GMT

    @pride & @gizza, agree wholeheartedly. Also Malinga looks a shadow of himself when asked to lead the attack in ODIs. Thinks he is more a 4 overs per innings bowler than a 10 overs per innings bowler. He bowled one champion spell in SAf and thereafter was an averagely good/penetrative bowler, not a match winner. Reason: there is no support. Thisara is a weak link as he has no tactical awareness and control. Kula will bowl an outswinger when it snows in Colombo. Mathews is 50-50 with his medium pacers. Prasad is wayward and mercurial at best. Rangana has no ODI credentials. No Randiv, Dilruwan, Sachitra or Jeevan. Dilshan is no Aravinda or Sanath when it comes to bowling part-time spin (not even the calibre of KumarD or UpulC). Given the frailties of Lankan batting (Chandimal excepted) the saggy greens will murder the Lionettes in Perth.

  • henchart on February 9, 2012, 14:06 GMT

    Sri Lanka ,at least,doesnt pretend to be world beaters like the other vising team in the competition which has a batsman with almost all the batting records in the world except playing well when it matters and leading his side to a win.

  • Sinhaya on February 9, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    Mahela, please deliver the goods! Enough of hearing these comments. Play the Sri Lankan brand of cricket and bring us joy tomorrow. Aussies will really come hard at us based on your comment Mahela.

  • plod on February 9, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Gee why would a under performing and sub standard team's spokesman be saying anything about Australia? Last time I checked we are No.1 in ODI's, and No. 3 in tests. I rank SL on the same level as NZ, capable of the odd surprise, but, a good ordinary side. Since the pie chucker's retirement and the failure to give Mendis a decent go, there bowling looks pedestrian, predictable with no penetration. Australia to win the tri series in a canter. Bring on the tests in the West Indies and scrap ODI's, just have T20's and Test matches. AUSSIE, AUSSIE, OI,OI, OI.

  • dunger.bob on February 9, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    I don't think we will be able to get a real idea about their form until S.L play a few more games. .. give them a chance to nestle in a bit, get a feel for the pace of things .. .. the Wed game looked like a wamup. Half pace and intensity, at best. .. Give them some time, they're pretty good as a rule. .. will probably kick our behinds once they get going..

  • on February 9, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    J'wardene seems to have a very poor memory. Last time SL played Aus in Aus, they lost the final ODI where Clint McKay took 5/33 and Starc 4/20 I think. Those two ripped through their batting order and Mahela has forgotten that! I'm sure Doherty was the spinner in that game as well having made his debut that series!

  • RohanMarkJay on February 9, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Good Luck Sri Lanka, beat the over rated Aussies then go on and beat the even more over rated England side in Sri Lanka. I am sure you will do very well. Best of luck Sri Lanka.

  • zerotollerance on February 9, 2012, 12:28 GMT

    Drop mahela And SL will win matches. Mahela is the weak link now. Let him be captain but be thv12 h man.

  • Lankan_Pride1981 on February 9, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    @Kasza SL was given a practise match against prime ministers X1 in canberra but got washed out. But again why did not they play a practise match in Perth? thats for the management to answer. I find Mahela's comments hillarious after seeing Starc and Co. Mahela should worry about his bowling unit. He was desperately looking for a wicket when India was 6 down but could not get one!

  • Gizza on February 9, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    If anything Australia's bowling is much stronger than their batting. There's no equivalent of a Marsh or Haddin in the bowling setup. And they will play at Perth where they only made 230 odd against India's bowlers. The only chance SL have at winning is if Malinga can run through most of the top and middle order. If Malinga doesn't have one of those days or (to a lesser extent) if Sangakara doesn't have one of his days, it will be curtain for Sri Lanka before the first ball is bowled.

  • KaZsa on February 9, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    One small question. Why didn't SL play a practice match before thr tri series. They did not have anytime to adjust to the conditions in the middle. They were clearly rusty in that match. But it was not such a bad performance as cricinfo writers are trying to imply. It was one off day, which is bound to happen without a practice game.

  • anver777 on February 9, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Mahela is certainly due for a big score.... hope to see a match winning knock from him against Aus !!!!!!

  • on February 9, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Just like always, one would expect Mahela to talk and talk, no action but talk. If Sri Lanka wants to climb to the top of the charts they need to make some changes. Bring in some fascinating new players. They need a couple of good fast bowlers not medium pacers and one or two decent spinners. Also, Sanga needs to take the charge. He is a very player, a team man and has very cool head. He needs to step forward and accept captaincy. No matter what, one has to answer the call when country calls you out.

  • SL_Cric on February 9, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    To WIN against Australia MAHELA himself should be DROPPED from the team...

  • asgtheone on February 9, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    As SL fans we had very unfortunate last year and hope under MJ we can have a more consistence run. By looking at the matches we have lost in last year I think most of those were lost due to an irresponsible batting and bowling. Same thing happened in last match also. I think SL team need to play as a team and everybody should give their best to be a consistence team.

  • on February 9, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Let Mathews bat at No 4 and Dinesh at 3. This is prudent as we need to use the power play properly and also let Angelo Mathews bat a long innings.

  • jonesy2 on February 9, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    is he kidding himself? goodluck with that mahela

  • hmmmmm... on February 9, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    has jayawardene even watched the Australian attack in the last few games? I think on the back of the SA tour perfomances I would be more worried about the Sri Lanka n batsmen being able to set a remotely defendable total.

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  • hmmmmm... on February 9, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    has jayawardene even watched the Australian attack in the last few games? I think on the back of the SA tour perfomances I would be more worried about the Sri Lanka n batsmen being able to set a remotely defendable total.

  • jonesy2 on February 9, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    is he kidding himself? goodluck with that mahela

  • on February 9, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    Let Mathews bat at No 4 and Dinesh at 3. This is prudent as we need to use the power play properly and also let Angelo Mathews bat a long innings.

  • asgtheone on February 9, 2012, 9:51 GMT

    As SL fans we had very unfortunate last year and hope under MJ we can have a more consistence run. By looking at the matches we have lost in last year I think most of those were lost due to an irresponsible batting and bowling. Same thing happened in last match also. I think SL team need to play as a team and everybody should give their best to be a consistence team.

  • SL_Cric on February 9, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    To WIN against Australia MAHELA himself should be DROPPED from the team...

  • on February 9, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Just like always, one would expect Mahela to talk and talk, no action but talk. If Sri Lanka wants to climb to the top of the charts they need to make some changes. Bring in some fascinating new players. They need a couple of good fast bowlers not medium pacers and one or two decent spinners. Also, Sanga needs to take the charge. He is a very player, a team man and has very cool head. He needs to step forward and accept captaincy. No matter what, one has to answer the call when country calls you out.

  • anver777 on February 9, 2012, 10:52 GMT

    Mahela is certainly due for a big score.... hope to see a match winning knock from him against Aus !!!!!!

  • KaZsa on February 9, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    One small question. Why didn't SL play a practice match before thr tri series. They did not have anytime to adjust to the conditions in the middle. They were clearly rusty in that match. But it was not such a bad performance as cricinfo writers are trying to imply. It was one off day, which is bound to happen without a practice game.

  • Gizza on February 9, 2012, 11:35 GMT

    If anything Australia's bowling is much stronger than their batting. There's no equivalent of a Marsh or Haddin in the bowling setup. And they will play at Perth where they only made 230 odd against India's bowlers. The only chance SL have at winning is if Malinga can run through most of the top and middle order. If Malinga doesn't have one of those days or (to a lesser extent) if Sangakara doesn't have one of his days, it will be curtain for Sri Lanka before the first ball is bowled.

  • Lankan_Pride1981 on February 9, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    @Kasza SL was given a practise match against prime ministers X1 in canberra but got washed out. But again why did not they play a practise match in Perth? thats for the management to answer. I find Mahela's comments hillarious after seeing Starc and Co. Mahela should worry about his bowling unit. He was desperately looking for a wicket when India was 6 down but could not get one!