Australia v Sri Lanka, CB series, Sydney February 18, 2012

Jayawardene happy with youngsters stepping up


Mahela Jayawardene is pleased Sri Lanka's turnaround in the triangular series has begun with youngsters stepping up. Thisara Perera, the promising allrounder who is slowly becoming a key member of the side, and Farveez Maharoof, who made yet another comeback in an in-and-out career, took four wickets for 47 runs between them, and broke the back of the Australian innings.

"These are the guys who are going to take Sri Lanka cricket into the future," Jayawardene said. "Hopefully we can build on that.

"I am a big fan of his [Maharoof's]. He has been playing some good cricket back home. Especially with two new balls, he is one of the guys who can give us something extra with the bat and the ball in different conditions. It's good to have him back. He felt really confident. He is an experienced player, he played in the 2007 World Cup as a 20-year-old."

Perera, a more regular member of the side than Maharoof, had earlier been dropped in Sri Lanka's second match of the tournament. In their big win against Australia, he contributed to two run-outs apart from taking two wickets. "Brilliant," Jayawardene said. "These are young guys who are coming through. They believe they belong here, which is great. The energy level they bring to the team is fantastic.

"He [Perera] is a fast-bowler-allrounder, who can field at any position, he is a good slip fielder as well. It's good to have this group of players we can work with for the future. Got other youngsters who are coming back from injury. We will get a bigger pool going forward. Exciting times as long as we keep working hard."

Apart from youngsters, Jayawardene was pleased Sri Lanka finally got a decent start to their innings. Jayawardene moved back to the opening role, dropping Upul Tharanga, and the captain and former captain put on 74 for the first wicket. "We needed a tactical change," Jayawardene said. "We were not getting starts upfront. Upul is a very good player. But unfortunately he is going through a bit of a period. We felt giving him a break will do him justice, freshen him up. I just jumped in straightaway.

"Lahiru is a middle-over batsman, he can fit anywhere. We just need to settle things upfront, make sure we get a good start, which we did today."

Jayawardene has seen good signs from Tillakaratne Dilshan. "Dilly plays his own game," Jayawardene said. "We never restricted him. He goes out there and plays naturally. He is a fantastic player to have. On the field he saves 20 runs. Even on a good wicket he can bowl five-six overs for you. A complete package. The way he batted today was beautiful. We just want to make him a free player so he can win matches for us. He has got three good starts now, hopefully he will get a big one next game."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • nirmal on February 20, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    hi.............we need see BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA as soon as well seletor ple bring him to national side >>upul tharanga is un form batsman....

  • prassuren on February 20, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    @Danufur, we dont know that your are the Cheif Selector of SLC and every body in this world cares your word. different people have different opinions. Sorrry LOL.. players of Perera class will not be picked up into International Team if he is from India, SA, Aus, NZ, ENG, PAK.. It happens only in Srilanka.. Sorry Again LOL

  • surendra on February 20, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Jayawardene is very happy after winning one match in the Series and his comments are result of the miracle happened. Thisara Perera becomes Clueless if he is hit for 15 runs in a over and has lot of single digit scores to his name. Maharoof is again a in-out player with no consistency in bowling/batting through out his career. Thirimanne should be dropped and replaced by Tharanga the country's best opening Batsman after Jayasuriya. No complaints about Jwardene Opening skills but can't last for more years... Mathews should become captain ASAP. Srilanka need some good youngsters like Chandimal not like the Jayawardene List

  • Dummy4 on February 20, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    COME ON, dont play lahiru. His record in this series is like pointing's one. Single digits. pointing, former australian captain,13000+ run scorer is dropped for his performance in series. Lahiru did the same as pointing, has nothing under his belt, dont we have anyone else to play at 6/7?

  • Gabrial on February 20, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @miles100 dude its nothing to do with that theres no worldcup winning captain have opened an innings if thats the spot mahela feels comfotable and getting runs he should bat there its good for us... and everything has a first time may be he can change stuff if he keeps captaincy till worldcup..such as mahela was the firstman to make century and be in the loosing side in a world cup final:-)

  • Tharindu on February 20, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    @Danufur - u hit the nail on the head of diehardcricketfan3. @lord.emsworth - very true about Tharanga.Its not that axing Tharanga what matters here.Its a good way to motivate players to keep them out of they fail.But using different kind of spoons is not good for the spirit of the team.

  • sathira on February 20, 2012, 7:08 GMT

    hey Mahela Jayawardene show real colours t india.india could win WC, thanks goes to indian useless pitches;P,otherwise they can not t atleast super 4!we must win tomorrw game!we people all with you

  • sathira on February 20, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    mahela jayawardene your a outstanding leader&your battin position at openin is great..upul tharanga is not suitable for opening,find a new hard hitting player for opening when you retire mahela!bez if we can get gud run score at first power play that should be easy for middle order batsman t score,that same thing did by aus past years..put same effort that u put last match aus vs sri on when you gonna play tomorrw match sri vs india..never underestimate indians,the thing is we have to put big effort to win this match&Lasith Malinga must concentrate on filding and bez of maling we could win many matches,gud work man,keep it up!!we can win tomorrw match in big way!!!!love u all guys,BRING IT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!BRING IT HOME

  • lasantha on February 19, 2012, 6:07 GMT


    so the best bowlers are pace less, seamless,& wicketless viney kumar?

    Thee are no attacking bowlers in India after Kapil Dev. Check the stats

  • Miles on February 19, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    @ 3liteindia. If Mahela becomes the permanent opener, that'll be the disaster of the middle order of SL batting once again. He is doing this for a short time to rectify the top order issue.No world cup winning successful captains have ever opened the batting in the history.There is a good reason behind it. Even captain scoring 15-25 runs with about 30 to 40 balls in the middle order is so valuable when you are leading your batting team. Captain's presence in the middle order helps in so many different ways.Mahela will be back at No:5 once Tharanga or another player steps up as opener. I'm sure Mahela is fully aware of the fact that it is not easy for a youngster to play at no:5 as no:5 & 6 is a an experienced player's position.Yes a youngster can play at no:5 as long as that youngster has enough wisdom & take the responsibility to read the conditions in the middle including the bowlers & the turf & continue. There are thousands of highly talented opening batsmen in SL.

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