Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Hobart February 24, 2012

Jayawardene hails 'special' Chandimal


Mahela Jayawardene believes Sri Lanka have found a special player in Dinesh Chandimal after his third half-century of the series helped set up a record chase at Bellerive Oval. Chandimal scored 80 and kept the chase on track after Jayawardene fell for 85, and although he was out to an ill-judged attempted paddle off Ryan Harris, he had done enough to allow the tail to finish the job.

Chandimal now sits on top of the series run tally with 306 at 61.20, and since the World Cup only Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have made more ODI runs for Sri Lanka. Jayawardene said Chandimal had embraced the No.4 position and had all the hallmarks of a long-term international player.

"[He's] definitely something special," Jayawardene said. "Even before the World Cup, he was very close to being in that 15 but we felt he didn't have the experience to be a part of that. But we made a decision soon after the World Cup that he was definitely going to be in the side permanently.

"It was just trying to find a position for him and I feel that No.4 is a good position for him to bat long periods, and he's got the big shots if he wants to. He's learning every day, which is great. He's a guy who learns a lot, asks a lot of questions as well off the field, which is good for Sri Lanka. Hopefully he will be one of those guys who will take us through the next ten years."

Together, Chandimal and Jayawardene were largely responsible for keeping Sri Lanka in the hunt after Australia posted 6 for 280. Jayawardene said there were some nervous moments towards the end as wickets started to fall, but he was impressed by the way Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews helped to steer the side into a winning position.

"These guys, a couple of them haven't had much experience, but I thought they handled the situation very well," he said. "They didn't go for those big shots, they just kept it going, singles, singles, and dragged the game as far as they could. And then when they wanted to hit that big shot, we knew that Thisara can do that, Angelo can do that, so we set it up nicely. They're learning, that's the most important thing.

"I saw the domestic matches and the Tassie (Tasmania) boys have chased some big totals. The wicket looked pretty good and it's tough to defend on this ground because there's big boundaries on one side and then the smaller one on the other. It was just about trying to get a couple of partnerships. That's what we discussed in the break."

The three-wicket victory has pushed Sri Lanka to the top of the series table and both they and Australia are now one match clear of India. India need to win both their remaining matches to be a certainty for the finals. Sri Lanka take on India in Hobart on Tuesday and Australia at the MCG next Friday, and a win in either of those games will be enough to confirm their place in the finals, which would be a fine achievement after they lost their first two games of the series.

"If we can control our destiny we should do that," Jayawardene said. "I'm quite happy with the effort. We knew we were playing good cricket, we just had to execute a few things better, which we are doing. Today also I thought we were probably a bit flat on the field. In that middle period we probably gave away the game but we managed to drag it back in the last six or seven overs, to a decent score, and then batted really well to finish the game off."

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kepili on February 27, 2012, 23:37 GMT

    It is really funny to see how some people are trying to misinterpret the obvious facts, with inappropriate junk.! Isn't it better to build a constructive point of view based on some sensible facts..rather than trying to describe the sky from a dark tunnel..? Who said the current form is a criteria for captaincy? According to some AMAZING fans, if a player can simply get a breakthrough, when bowling then he should be able to read the whole game and become an outstanding Captain like MJ..!!! What an easy way to decide the future Captain of SL,, selectors please follow this "highly productive" criteria..!!! :-)) If we really support SL cricket... shouldn't we forget about personal preferences and differences and go behind the best CHOICE to VOICE our support..? I think this what we are sadly lacking even among the cricket administrators.!!! :-(

  • Rajinda on February 27, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    @ James Anderson: agree with you 100%. Lot of people are quick to throw names of players as future captain of SL. First of all MJ has accepted the leadership for one year. That's enough time for to figure out the best candidate. Just because a player does well on one tour, or even generally scores well all the time, doesn't translate it to be a good leader. Form is different to leadership skills, & MJ is a great example who was not on form, but never a question as a great captain. Opposite is Dilly, who was unfortunately thrown on to the captaincy, lacked the same ability as Mahela or Sanga as leaders. Angie may look out of sorts at times, with his slower rate etc., but he seems to be able to read the game & opposition batsmen similar to MJ. This is why he gets breakthroughs whenever he bowls. Finally fans who wants Bhanuka in right now do not realize, we have to drop someone else from a winning combination we enjoy now. Let's be patient till a spot opens for him as it did for Chandi!

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    @-3liteindia the best explain u can give to bhanuka rajapaksha is..hes like crist gale when he hitting sixes and hes like aravinda de silva when playing middle of the game.....i thnk he will be more gud batsman and most importantly hes a leg spinner

  • Kepili on February 26, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    @James Anderson: Pal.. what do you think a player SHOULD have to be a successful captain? AGE?? ...Rubbish... MAHAROOF is only 27 and MATHEWS is almost 25yrs. NECESSARY EXPERIENCE...PROVEN ABILITY...SUCCESSFUL TRACK RECORD leading a NATIONAL SIDE ??..YES....MAHAROOF is the ONLY YOUNG PLAYER who has ALL of it, being a former SL UNDER-19 CAPTAIN .! He even led the team in a Youth World-Cup..! He is a good TACTICIAN with a BALANCED-MIND who always gave 100% to the team..but the way MATHEWS play his cricket, unfortunately none of these qualities are visible.!!! So MATHEWS is NOWHERE near, compared to MAHAROOF (for Captaincy).! Pls read my previous postings in this regard: Kepili_Buster on (February 24 2012, 18:27 PM GMT) and Kepili_Buster on (February 25 2012, 14:45 PM GMT)

  • Mohamed on February 26, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    So far we have been performing well and hope to clicnh the trophy. Quite dissappointed with Sanga, but still he s the classy palyer we have got who have been consistenetly making big score away from SL....

  • Bhagya on February 26, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    @3liteindia:: He is very good buddy.You should see him bat.He is left handed Aravinda....

  • Blah on February 26, 2012, 0:52 GMT

    Chandimal, you are on the right track. I think that whole nation is being appreciated your performances. We are glad that our nation has produced an excellent cricketer. We are with you always!

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Angelo and Maharoof? I think we should compare apple to apple. Angelo is a batting all rounder where Maharoof is a bowling all rounder. Angelo may not be a good finisher but he could bat with the tail. Besides he is younger than Maharoof. I think he could be one of the best all rounders in the world, with some experience.As for SUKO 99, I do not think even BCCI can get this SL team to throw away a match. These guys are not corrupt individuals. Most of these guys are extremely rich. They are not being paid for over an year. Suko 99 you mean to tell me this is how India win matches?

  • Dummy4 on February 25, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    @Spelele - You must be mad to call Sangakkara a flat track bully ! he is the best batsman in the world.

  • isuru on February 25, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    HAIL MAHELA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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