Australia v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Melbourne

Good that we aren't depending on favours - Jayawardene

Brydon Coverdale in Melbourne

March 1, 2012

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Angelo Mathews aims for the midwicket boundary, India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Brisbane, February 21, 2012
Angelo Mathews is one of three medium-pace allrounders that Sri Lanka have in their one-day squad © Getty Images
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Mahela Jayawardene is confident Sri Lanka can take plenty of positives from the tri-series even if they fail to beat Australia at the MCG and qualify for the finals. However, the Sri Lankans have by no means given up on the tournament, despite a loss to India in Hobart that could have left them demoralised.

In his first series back in the captaincy, Jayawardene has the chance to guide Sri Lanka in to the best-of-three finals against Australia. To get there, they need either to beat Australia or share the points through a tie or an abandoned match, and while there will be showers in Melbourne on Friday it is unlikely there will be enough to force a wash-out.

Jayawardene said the loss on Tuesday, when India picked up a bonus point and stayed in contention by chasing 321 within 37 overs, was less a result of poor Sri Lankan bowling than wonderful Indian batting, which was a good sign for his side. And with two wins from their last two games against Australia, Sri Lanka have a strong chance to progress.

"Going in to the last game it's in our control, what we need to do," Jayawardene said. "It's a good position for us to be, rather than depending on someone else to do some favours for us.

"From where we started on this tour, I think we've improved as a team and maintained a consistency. That's very important for us going forward. Whatever happens tomorrow we will definitely get a lot of positives out of this. Our challenge will be to try and keep this consistency going, because if we play the way we're playing now ... we'll win more matches than we lose. We're quite happy with that."

One of the most impressive aspects of Sri Lanka's series is that it has not just been the veterans who have stood up, although Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara were the centurions in the last match. Dinesh Chandimal has continued to develop as a dangerous middle-order batsman and Thisara Perera, 22, is second only to Lasith Malinga on Sri Lanka's wicket tally, which pleased Jayawardene.

"Going forward we've always wanted to have two or three allrounders in a team," he said. "These guys are taking responsibility. Angelo [Mathews] in the long run will probably be more of a batting allrounder than a bowling allrounder. We'd like Thisara to be more of a bowling allrounder so it fits in well.

"Plus [Farveez] Maharoof is a guy who can bat as well and he's bowling pretty well, he just needs to have a bit more confidence in his batting. All these three guys will be good options for us going forward. We just need a couple of spinning allrounders to come through and we'll have a really good balanced team."

Sri Lanka won't have Maharoof for Friday's game, however, after he suffered from lower back pain during the Hobart loss. His absence was a factor in Sri Lanka failing to defend their big total and Jayawardene said, while Virat Kohli had taken the match away from Sri Lanka, there were things his bowlers could learn from the experience.


"The [fast-bowling] guys did go to their strength, which is yorkers and stuff like that, but I think they [Indian batsmen] handled that pretty well," he said. "We didn't try too many things, that was probably due to the way the Indians were batting as well ... we probably just went with the momentum rather than trying to change it in the middle.

"Those are areas in which we can improve as a team … bowlers taking a bit more time and maybe having a bit more of a plan about what they want to do. Even if it's something out of the box, something totally different, there's no harm in trying something like that - which we didn't do. That's something we've spoken about with the bowlers because you have to expect these kind of situations in the future, we have to be prepared. Every game is a learning curve for everyone."

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

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Posted by LankaFTW on (March 3, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

V.Rajaa, I do admit India won the game against SL fair and square but who are in the finals of CB series now? India only managed to put on one good show, whereas Sri Lanka where able to put on many, including the game yesterday so i suggest you "mind it or move on."

Mahela I doubt was taking a dig at the Indian Cricket team he is just hinting to Australia to play their normal game and not to go all soft because they are already in the finals and throw away yesterdays game.

India are a good team on paper and I have always supported the Indian team. But their poor form slump and not taking the necessary actions to put together a good team is a bit disappointing. Hopefully after this series they can have a good hard look at themselves and make appropriate changes to become a competitive team to beat once again.

Posted by pak94fan on (March 2, 2012, 20:03 GMT)

Umm, guys, when he said "Good that we aren't depending on favours", he was referring to the fact that SL had their destiny in their hands and didn't have to rely on results elsewhere to qualify, which means that the responsibility for qualifying was in his team's hands, and they have now qualified, having beaten Aus by 9 runs. However, having said that, everyone, including Jayawardene admitted that India batted well in the previous match, so you Indians need to get over it. It was a very good batting performance and the win was deserved- that's it. I hope to have a good Asia Cup contest now insha'Allah, and CB series finals should be interesting.

Posted by bhrangi on (March 2, 2012, 7:09 GMT)

INDIA IS A KING OF FLAT TRACKS., :-) and am proud of it., after all that is also a part of game.

Posted by bhrangi on (March 2, 2012, 7:02 GMT)

SL deserved to play in Final., An indian

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (March 2, 2012, 6:35 GMT)

funny to see SL fans crying for a place in the finals...lol...its just a game, baby...

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (March 2, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

mark2011, I am sure your are very naive otherwise it is all there to see who Mahela is taking a dig at and you are not able to see it. If he wanted to say, he could have said, it is now entirely on us to win and go to final instead of saying we are not dependent on favours. That is a direct (not even indirect) dig at India. Mahela has changed but doesn't know how to implement the changes. He comes across poorly in doing so.

Posted by V.Rajaa on (March 2, 2012, 6:00 GMT)

Mahela,don't speak nonsense.Who is going to favour who?Or who did favour to whom, when and where?Its a game of cricket.u needs to win to qualify for d finals.Do concentrate on that.y digging d other team.If u wins 2day's match vs aus,then u might enter the finals.Thats it.Otherwise,both d subcontinent teams r very much equal in this series.But u cud have called Dhoni to bat instead of raina. If he came, he could have made things easier for u by delaying the victory:lol: But say me one thing..Were u srilankans favoured ind in d last match. I don't think so. They beat u fair and square. Fluke or luck.. that does not matter. They won comprehensively. U ppl did not gave them a favour. they took it. Mind it and move on.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

its amazing how some people still attribute the tie SL made -to the 1 ball that was not balled in the 30th over of that match.. it could have easily been a dot ball or a WICKET..

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

Indian's would still be the best side in the world provided if they get rid of expired guys.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Whoever comes to final AUS is going to win the Title for sure.They have such a bowling as well as batting in that manner.Wait and watch.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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Australia v Sri Lanka at Adelaide - Mar 8, 2012
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Australia v Sri Lanka at Brisbane - Mar 4, 2012
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